East Africa

Ugandan fishermen cautioned as Tanzania bans ‘HurryUp’ fishing method on Lake Victoria

Dar-es-Salam, (TZ):- Tanzania’s government through the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (in charge of Fisheries Sector), has come out to issue guidelines to fishermen using Lake Victoria waters to fetch fish for both commercial and home consumption in its latest mandate aimed at managing, protecting, and developing the country’s fisheries resources.

The new procedures come as a warning to Ugandan fishermen most of whom had crossed over to Tanzania after authorities at home halted the use of Hurry-Up fishing nets on Lake Victoria, thus finding shelter in the neighbouring country.

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Over the last three months, the Ugandan fishermen along with their East African counterparts had shifted to the Tanzanian waters with their Hurry-Up nets, a method of fishing researchers have found to be a danger to the species and destroying other young species of fish like perch, tilapia.

It is against this background that the government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries adopted to ban this method of fishing in the country, emulating a directive taken by the Ugandan government three months.

According to the statement issued recently by Prof. Mohammed Sheikh, the Director of Fisheries in the Tanzanian ministry, effective June 15, 2024, all fishermen occupying the Lake’s waters in Tanzania will have to adapt to the new guidelines issued or else face the wrath of the law.

Prof Mohammed says in managing and developing the sustainable harvesting of seafood in Lake Victoria, and other areas, the Ministry which is responsible for managing existing Laws and Regulations as well as providing various documents faces the threat to the sustainability of fishing resources due to trends and changes in the industry of fishing.

This situation, according to the Prof causes fishermen to catch a large number of young fish such as perch and other types of fish that are not intended, which causes damage to the environment, fish spawning and threatens the sustainability of fishing resources in Lake Victoria.

“Thus, in accordance with the duties assigned to me under Section 4(3) of the Fisheries Act, Chapter 279. I issue a Circular on seafood fishing in Lake Victoria as a measure for the management of fishing resources in the country as follows;” says the Prof, outlining below the recommended fishing methods going forward.

  • (a) The seafood net will have a length not exceeding sixty meters (60m) and a depth of twenty meters (20m)
  • (b) The distance between the buoy and the buoy should not exceed five centimetres (5cm);
  • (c) The mesh size should not be less than eight millimetres (8mm);
  • (d) This fishing should be done in a distance not less than two thousand meters (2.000m) equal to a distance not exceeding two kilometres (2km) from the shore of the lake; and
  • (e) This fishing will not be done during the day and during the moonlight as stipulated in Regulation 66(1) of the Fisheries Regulations 2009, as amended through Regulation 16(d) (mm) and (nn) promulgated by GN 492 of 03 /07/2020 4.

Prof Mohammed says fishing, therefore, any kind of violation is a 2024 offence in all areas of Lake Victoria. “I call on all of us to cooperate because in general. This action will help in fully managing seafood fishing. Also, the specific goal of this Circular is to protect the ecology of being a breeding ground for fish in Lake Victoria and sustainable fishing and environmental conservation,” he stated.

Ugandan fishermen and fish traders are therefore called upon to be cautious and drop the use of the hurry-up fishing nets, or else they risk being arrested in the foreign country and face captivity without rescue.

Last year, Tanzania whipped a crackdown on illegal fishing in the county where over 46 fishing boats were grounded while 50 fishing nets were seized because their owners were engaged in illegal fishing.

The crackdown also targeted the use of illegal fishing gear such as the undersized fishing nets, blamed for the accelerated depletion of fish.

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