Fish farmers to raise catch by 50 percent in next four years

Arusha. Annual production of fish through aquaculture in Tanzania is set to reach 30,000 tonnes by 2025 from 20,000 tonnes now.

This will be realised through various ongoing strategies to support fishermen in skills, equipment and markets.

The drive is also intended to increase the per capita consumption of fish in the country for nutritional purposes.

This was revealed here on Tuesday by Tanzanian fisheries experts who attended a meeting on Lake Victoria fisheries.

“The aquaculture sector is set for a major revamp”, said Mr Hamisi Mkuli, an assistant director in the ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (Aquaculture).

According to him, per capita consumption of fish in Tanzania currently stands at a lowly 8.5 kilogrammes.

The recommended per capita consumption of fish by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is 20.5kgs.

The leading regions for production of fish through aquaculture are Njombe, Ruvuma, Iringa, Morogoro and Tanzania.

However, fisheries experts said the greater potential for fish farming in Tanzania was in Mwanza and around Lake Victoria.

Mr Mkuli and others were in Arusha for the launch of a 10.1 million Euro aquaculture project in the Lake Victoria basin.

Aquaculture refers to the breeding, rearing and harvesting of the aquatic animals in closed water environments such as ponds, rivers, lakes, the oceans and other man-made ‘closed’ systems on land.

According to industry sources, three quarters of fish farming in Tanzania involve tilapia fish, the most favoured delicacy from the fresh water.

Tanzania has not yet commercialised its aquaculture business “to the optimal level”, but the activity is primarily carried out as a small scale subsistence activity.

The director general of Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (Tafiri), Dr Ismael Kimierei, said the situation is set for change.

He said the ministry has already established a full fledged directorate on aquaculture to spearhead the exercise.

He added that the spirited effort to develop fish farming will start with 40 selected districts, where cage stations will be established.

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