Tanzania explores fish farming in Lake Victoria

Tanzania explores fish farming in Lake Victoria

New initiative expected to provide jobs, boost local economy

A major municipality in the north of Tanzania is set to introduce fish farming opportunities in nearby Lake Victoria.

Areas of the lake are to be set aside for registered and licensed fish farmers in Bukoba for the first time, reports Daily News. As well as increasing the supply of fish products for the domestic market and export, the local authority is using the licensing system to reduce illegal fishing in the lake, which is currently open to everyone and all fishing methods.

In order to be granted a license, farmers will be required to keep their fish in cages and provide suitable feed.

Authorities in Bukoba expect the initiative to provide new jobs and boost the local economy as it will stimulate supplies of feed, equipment and other requirements for production of the fish, as well as processing facilities for the final products.

According to a senior official, one large investor has already registered interest in the fish farming scheme, and around 30 other plots are available for smaller local and international entrepreneurs.

Capital of the Kagera region, the city of Bukoba is located in the northwest of the United Republic of Tanzania, and lies on the southwestern shore of Lake Victoria.

In 2017, the Tanzanian aquaculture sector produced just over 11,800 metric tons (mt) of fish, crustaceans, and mollusks worth just under US$41 million, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Around 9,000 mt of the total was Nile tilapia, 2,000 mt African catfish, 340 mt of milkfish, and 450 mt of giant tiger prawn.

These figures indicate rapid expansion of the sector. In 2016, the country’s total comparable output was just over 5,000 mt with a value of almost US$18.3 million.

Nonprofit organization WorldFish is working with the Tanzanian government to increase aquaculture production, as well as to reduce post-harvest fish losses, boost fish consumption by women and children, and encourage better management of small-scale coastal and inland fisheries. Small-scale fisheries produce almost 366,000 mt of fish each year, in addition to 10,317 mt of aquaculture products, according to the organization.