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Mara bans fish exports to Kenya

TANZANIA - Mara regional government leaders have struck out against the illegal export of fish to Kenya, which officials say is inflating local fish prices and costing the country hundreds of thousands in uncollected taxes.

Mara Regional Commissioner Issa Machibya issued a ban on all illegal fish exports, effective Wednesday of this week, after local officials reported that hundreds of thousands of fish have been pouring over the region’s Sirari border every day.

With tilapia flooding the border, the price of fish on the Tanzania side has doubled. Now, a tilapia harvested in Tanzania might cost between 3,000/- to 4,000/- here, but the same fish would sell for just 1,500/- on the Kenyan side of the border, the Sirari ward councilor Antoni Manga told the regional commissioner.

"Fish should be sold in our markets, and if they want, they can come and buy them here," Mr Machibya said in response. "There is no more discussion on this issue."

Mr Machibya, who was speaking to government functionaries based at the border on Wednesday, directed regional police to cooperate with village leaders and state border authorities to ensure that the fish smuggling is stopped. Officials who fail to enforce the ban will be dealt with accordingly, he said.