Illegal fishing has contributed to the serious decline in fish stocks in the ocean as well as the lakes. Lake Victoria, which covers an area estimated to be 68,800 square kilometres, for example, has suffered severe decrease in fish stocks due to pollution and environmental degradation, reports DailyNews.
These are caused by human activities inside the lake, within the lake basin, and also within the surrounding catchment areas of East Africa. Despite the challenges being experienced in the fishing sector, the activity remains very important to people's lives.
In Tanzania it contributes about 2.9 per cent to the GDP and about 27 per cent of the animal protein consumed in the country. Furthermore, the fishing industry employs about 150, 000 full time artisanal fishermen, while over two million people make their livelihoods through various fisheries -related activities.
Such activities include boat building, net mending, fish processing, food vendors and other petty business. According to a report by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 93.2 million tonnes of fish are caught through commercial fishing in wild fisheries while 48.1 million tonnes are caught by fish arms annually.
With a population that is in excess of 44 million, the demand for fish in Tanzania is very high. This demand is expected to continue rising with the increase in human population in our country, in spite of the earlier mentioned challenges that this industry continues to face.
According to the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) this year's report on the management of fisheries in Lake Victoria, the total available stock of Nile perch in the Tanzanian part of the lake, which was recorded last year, was estimated at 165,439 tonnes, while the annual quantity of removal of Nile perch is estimated to be 101,298 tonnes.