|Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Development,David Mathayo David|
The government is waging an all out war against illegal fishing at Nyumba ya Mungu dam—the Northern zone's major source of hydro-electric power.
Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Development David Mathayo David, issued a stern warning yesterday in the National Assembly when responding to question by Betty Machangu (Special Seats, CCM) who wanted to know the government’s plans to curb illegal fishing in the dam.
The lawmaker said illegal fishing is rampant in the area and most people who deal with the dubious business come from neighbouring countries.
The minister stated that from now on the government is going to carry-out a crackdown against people who engage in fishing using ‘destructive’ fishing gear, which in turn dwindles fish resources in the dam.
He however admitted that destructive fishing practices at Nyumba ya Mungu dam have reached a deadly proportion as majority of fishermen have been engaging in illegal fishing, harvesting the species at an alarming rate and by using the banned fishing-nets and even chemicals.
He however asked the Beach Management Units (BMUs) to team up with government’s patrol forces to address the challenge, which poses a serious threat to the dam. The dam has the capacity of generating 8MW.
“I call upon BMUs and people living on the shores of the dam to disclose those involved in illegal fishing activities, including people from the neighbouring countries to responsible authorities so that they can be taken to task,” he ordered.
“As government, we will take stern measures against local people who collaborate with aliens in sabotaging fishing in this important water body,” the minister stated.
He said the dam is overwhelmed with other human induced activities, which threaten the survival of the 45 year dam found between Manyara and Kilimanjaro regions and with different fish species.
Mathayo admitted that the dam is also threatened with limited number of staff whereby right now there are about 11, though the actual demand is 36.
Among the measures, which are in place include establishing a total of 20 BMUs, he said, adding that “the idea of these units is to work on scaling down all activities which are not friendly to fish resources.”
Current mass fishing practices at Nyumba ya Mungu dam are said to be mainly fueled by the fact that a number of fishermen who used to fish at Lake Jipe, located about 40km north of the dam, moved to it after the lake recently dried up mostly due to drought and also the invasion of water clogging weeds.
The situation compelled about 4,000 out of 5,000 families of fishermen who spent many years making their living around Lake Jipe, measuring 166 square km, to move southwards due to declining fishing activities.