Tanga Forges Initiative to Curb Dynamite Fishing
daily news, Y GIDEON GEORGE, 28 APRIL 2014, http://www.dailynews.co.tz/index.php/features/30816-tanga-forges-initiative-to-curb-dynamite-fishing , http://allafrica.com/stories/201404280135.html?viewall=1
GRAPPLING with the problem of dynamite fishing, the Tanga City Council in cooperation with local non-governmental organization, Tumaini Environmental Conservation Group (TECG) in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) is embarking on an importance process to put in place a District Coastal Resources Co-management Plan aiming at elimination of fishing practices that destroy the resources through people's participation.
Our correspondent GIDEON GEORGE reports from Tanga. AT the first of a series of meetings organized by the Tanga City Council, in cooperation with a local NGO, Tumaini Environmental Conservation Group (TECG) to garner contributions for establishment of a District Coastal Resources Co-Management Plan aimed at saving the coastal areas from further degradation from such vices as dynamite fishing, a veteran environmentalist and Chairman of the Chongoleani Coastal Village Environmental Committee, a coastal village located to the north of the Tanga Port, Omari Kombo, was up in arms.
For him any talk about eliminating or reducing dynamite fishing or other forms of illegal fishing in the Tanga Coastal Zone could be mere voices in the air if there is no plan to involve coastal villagers in control efforts.
He has been reared in the successful collaborative Management Programs (CMAPs) established under the Irish Government supported by Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation and development Programme (TCZCDP) and the World Bank financed Tanzania Marine and Coastal Environment Management Project (MACEMP), which actively involved coastal villagers in the protection of the resources and reduced dynamite fishing to almost zero levels.
Kombo insists that without any concrete plan to achieve villagers' cooperation in patrolling the sea and seriousness in funding those patrols coastal resources would continue to be plundered to the detriment of the people of the coastal villages.
Faced with increasing dynamite fishing, Tanga City Council that successfully controlled the scourge for a number of years, is preparing a District Coastal Resources Co-management Plan aiming at elimination of fishing practices that destroy the resources.
The City Council in a good show of how the Public Private Partnership (PPP) works is collaborating with a City-based nongovernmental organization, Tumaini Environmental Conservation Group (TECG) to organize the initiative.
With funding from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) routed through the Mazingira Network (MANET), the City Council and Tumaini, organized the first meeting involving over 60 stakeholders including villagers from the Tanga Coastal line.
"This is the first of the series of meetings that would send us to a comprehensive Coastal Resources Co-Management Plan," said the Fisheries Officer, Aneny Nyirenda adding that the meeting was aimed at securing early contribution from the coastal villagers.
The participants suggested a revival of the coastal area collaborative management area programmes (CMAPs) in a quest to stem the rising wave of illegal fishing activities along the Tanga coast, including dynamite fishing.
The participants who included the village Chairmen, Ward and Village Executive Officers from 20 Tanga District coastal villages, officials from the Tanga Tourist Network Association (TATONA) said that past experiences where villagers were actively involved in the management of the resources showed that only active participation of the villagers, serious awareness education and funding initiatives would eliminate dynamite fishing and save marine life from extinction.
Collaborative Management Plans the CMAP and Collaborative Mangrove Management Plans were the main achievement of the Coastal Zone Conservation and Development Programme and led to increased conservation and protection of the marine resources and increase of fish stocks along the Tanga coastal villages.
CMAPs were central to the former coastal conservation and the extension of the approach to mangrove forests. The fundamental basis of a CMA is that management is by resource users with each CMA comprising the 'home' fishing grounds shared by a group of villages or mangrove forests shared between two or more villages.
Dynamite fishing, according to Kombo and records from the two programs, had successfully been controlled during the era to almost zero levels increasing the volume of fish and fish catch.
According to records every time the programs ended dynamite fishing erupted with vengeance as it was case in 2006 when the TCZCDP ended and reported dynamite blasts suddenly shot up from almost zero to 69 blasts per month in the following year (2007) until another donor showed up through MACEMP.
However, it was reported that when the project was drawing to an end and the budget was dwindling, there were dire consequences in occurrence of the same phenomenon of 2007 when the TCZCDP came to an end in 2006.
It was reported by Mkinga District Fisheries authorities that dynamite fishing incidents shot up sharply again to 19 blasts per month in 2010 from just about four in 2009/10. Reduced funding from MACEMP was mentioned as the reason behind the situation.
And according to the Head of the Fisheries Patrol Unit, Zebadiah Ngogo dynamite fishing is still a major threat that is causing sleepless nights for the fisheries Patrol Unit along the Tanga Region coastline despite efforts made by the Government to control the devastative fishing practice.
Kombo said they were more than ready to participate in the new initiative but had reservations on the honesty of some officials from the fisheries department. "We once caught a fisherman with explosives in his boat but when his family followed the matter at the district level they were told to go back and negotiate with Chongoleani Environmental Committee to seek release of the boat," he said.
"The situation is obviously still precarious. Blasts are reported by stakeholders such as hotel owners now and then," said an obviously disappointed Mbogo who pointed out that the continuing dynamite fishing is not only causing a threat to marine resources but the economy through tourism - spot fishing.
He said that explosives from these companies seem to be loosely controlled, finding their way to fishermen who use them in dynamite fishing. He said that stakeholders, including the Tanzanian Dynamite Fishing Monitoring Network, a voluntary network of marine conservationists and the private tourism and fisheries sector are reported dynamite blasts.
Records show that the devastating form of fishing first appeared in Tanzania in the 1960s, and by the mid-1990s had become a serious problem. A high-profile national campaign involving hotel operators and the media brought international pressure and donor attention to the issue, and the navy was enlisted to assist with enforcement.
This campaign, along with close community and peer group control, succeeded in pushing out dynamiters for over two decades, particularly in southern Tanzania. Also in the north, blasting was rare for a few years between 1997 and 2003,the records point out.
However, according to the Tanzanian Dynamite Fishing Monitoring Network, since 2003, dynamite fishing has resumed. The new initiative calls for showing of more seriousness than it was before and for preparing an initiative that would not depend on donors.
Opening the meeting the City Director, Mrs Juliana Malange called on stakeholders to take stock of challenges and opportunities and prepare a plan that would help to stem the tide of increased dynamite fishing. "Above all, you must remember that you are preparing a plan in which you will be the principal managers of the plan," said Malange.
Stop destructive fishing
By The Citizen, April 23 2014, http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/oped/Stop-destructive-fishing/-/1840568/2289...
Which is to say, we have compatriots bent on eradication off fish stock. They do that, yet their lives revolve around fishing!
Psychologists tell us that man has the inert tendency to self-destruct. You can’t but agree with them when you look at the conduct of some fishermen who engage in dynamite fishing.
One does not need a PhD in environmental science to understand the level of destruction that occurs when this method of catching fish is used, yet the practice is actually on the increase.
The practice is decimating our fish population. Furthermore, it also destroys coral reefs, which are crucial breeding grounds for fish. Which is to say, we have compatriots bent on eradication off fish stock. They do that, yet their lives revolve around fishing!
Damaged coral reefs also make diving dangerous. It means the number of tourists who would visit Tanga with loads of foreign currency just to enjoy scuba diving will avoid stay away. It means, we have compatriots who, because of their misguided desire for easy catch and quick money, are unwittingly ruining tourism industry.
Indeed, a tourist who has been a regular visitor to Tanga for the past 14 years, says out of the seven diving spots that were there ten years ago in region’s coastline, five are gone.
We need to care for our natural resources, for if we don’t, who will? Dynamite fishermen should be viewed as economic saboteurs and be duly penalised.
SPECIAL REPORT: How dynamite fishing threatens marine tourism in Tanga Region
A marine conservation assistant with the Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park, Mr Shabaan Shemboko, shows a patrol boat that was burnt by rogue fishermen in 2011. PHOTO | LUCAS LIGANGA
By Lucas Liganga The Citizen Reporter. Tuesday, April 22, 2014, http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/SPECIAL-REPORT--How-dynamite-fishing-th...
While the government and the tourism industry are trying hard to gain a greater share in the international quality tourism market, it has to be acknowledged that dynamite fishing is a devastating threat to marine tourism
Tanga. A German tourist who has been visiting Tanga coastline for the past 14 years for scuba diving and snorkelling says he is alarmed by the rising dynamite fishing.
“Dynamite fishing is increasing enormously. Ten years ago I used to scuba dive in about six to seven spots in the sea, but today only two spots are suitable for diving,” says Jochen Osterloh from north of Germany.
He adds: “Coral reefs in the other diving spots have been blasted by the dynamiters. You can hear dynamite blasting almost every day. The most important thing is to stop the dynamiting immediately.”
Indeed, it is a very shocking sight for hundreds of tourists, that coral reefs are blasted to rubble right in front of their eyes when on the beach, or when snorkelling to admire the immense beauty of the underwater treasures that Tanzania could truly be proud of, if not devastated.
“From our coast and beach hotels, we can easily hear, and sometimes see between seven and eight dynamite blasts on a single day, especially during low tide and when the sea is calm. We now also get reports of blasting during full moon nights. This is a new and depressing development,” says a foreign investor who runs a tourist hotel along the Tanga coastline.
He says there can be no tourism where there is dynamite fishing, guests are scared and horrified to spend their holiday in such a disgraceful country that has no respect for its own resources.
“Some visitors have now already reported this to their travel agents back home, and written letters to newspapers about their experiences, which is very bad publicity for Tanzania as a safe travel destination that so much depends on nature conservation as a prime attraction,” he adds, requesting for anonymity saying the powerful cartel of dynamiters are very vengeful.
He says prospects are bleak in particular for the diving industry, as blasts in the vicinity of scuba divers can destroy their eardrums and lead to certain death by drowning.
“This hasn’t happened yet fortunately, but one such case will certainly produce very negative international headlines with dire consequences for the industry,” he warns.
While the government and the tourism industry try very hard to gain a greater share in the international quality tourism market, it has to be acknowledged that dynamite fishing is a devastating threat to marine tourism.
A marine scientist, who also prefers not to be mentioned fearing the vindictive dynamiters, says by blasting reefs, dynamite fishers also destroy aggregations and breeding grounds of pelagic finfish, an increasingly important source of food and high-value export.
Sadly, dynamite fishers do not only target the coral reefs, says the scientist, adding that they have now also started using dynamite to fish for tuna fish, an extremely destructive practice, during which several hundred large (20kg–60kg) tuna are killed and sink immediately to the bottom of the ocean in deep water, only to float back up to the surface a few days later, rotten and inedible.
A week-long investigation by The Citizen has found that the damage from an environmental point of view has a chain of effects.
Dynamite destroys coral reefs, which is contrary to what people normally think, it’s not a series of rocks, but it’s a congregation of living animals which create the corals (rocks) as their homes.
It is like this, these small animals filter the water and grow. Small fishes eat these small corals. Bigger fishes eat the small one eating the corals. And pelagic big fishes pass by coral reefs to eat the medium size fishes.
So it is obviously a food chain and if you destroy the first ring of the chain you disrupt all the other steps.
Because this type of fishing does not only have an effect on what it kills on the spot, but also a much wider and longer effect preventing other fishes to survive.
In January 2012, the Tanga Tourism Network Association (Tatona) wrote a letter to Tanga Regional Commissioner Chiku Galawa, entitled: Daily rampant dynamite fishing along the Tanga coast.
In its letter the association expressed concern over the situation that it said was now getting totally out of control, “and every day destroys the very base of not only our business, but also the livelihood of millions of poor Tanzanians.”
In addition, this is now even seriously tarnishing the international image and reputation of Tanzania, in the tourism industry and in the conservation world, said the letter seen by The Citizen.
The use of explosives for fishing is not known in the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Mozambique that also have long coast lines.
For example, it is known, that in Kenya, the possession, trade and use of explosives is treated as a treasonable offence that attracts the highest penalties.
The letter said coral reefs are among the most precious marine resources in Tanzania that provide both, livelihoods for a large section of coastal people (about 23 per cent of the total population), and a source of income for the local and export-oriented fishing industry, as well as the rapidly growing marine tourism industry.
As a result of dynamite fishing, many coral reefs of Tanga (and of the country as a whole) are already seriously degraded.
With numerous blasts occurring daily on reefs all along the Tanga coast already over decades, the cumulative effect has been devastating, said the letter.
A survey conducted in Tanga Region in the 1990s showed that 10 per cent of coral reefs were damaged beyond recovery, while 70 per cent had significant damage but could recover if protected.
“These figures must be much worse now. Once blasted to rubble, corals take decades, even centuries to grow back, and some reefs will never make it again as a result of continued blasting,” said the letter.
Ms Galawa acknowledged receipt of the Tatona letter in an interview with The Citizen in her office, saying lack of resources was the main reason derailing efforts aimed at curbing dynamite fishing.
“We don’t have resources. A patrol boat needs not less than 200 litres of fuel for it to patrol at least one third of the region’s coastal area,” she said.
Ms Galawa added that fighting dynamite fishing was a collective responsibility, adding however, that there was political will in the fight against the malpractice.
“Plans are afoot to convene a meeting of all coastal regional commissioners and other relevant authorities such as the police, Tanzania Revenue Authority and fisheries department to brainstorm on how to go forward,” she said.
Investigations by this newspaper have found that of the several hundred tunas that they kill using dynamite, the fishers are only able to collect a few pieces before they sink to the bottom.
As a result of only a few days of blasting, the surviving tuna schools move away from Tanga.
It has been further revealed that not only do the dynamite fishers succeed in killing several hundred tuna that are wasted, but they also succeed in ensuring that other fishers, who use legitimate fishing methods and who depend on the tunas to increase their income actually get nothing.
It is the poor artisanal fishers, who depend on handlines, basket traps and nets for their daily food and some extra cash, who are punished for using legal fishing methods, as their catches are now seriously diminishing all along the coast, as a result of the criminal activities of some few unscrupulous people, their supporters and ‘sponsors’ both in business and local government.
Stakeholders see the main reason for this shocking reality is a serious lack of law enforcement by the respective authorities at all levels, in particular also by the courts of law, where dynamiters are often acquitted or given fines that are far below the legal minimum, and released after a few days, only to continue blasting, and also threaten those law-abiding citizens who co-operate with law enforcement organs.
In Tanga Region, this situation has not always been like this. For example, between 1994-2004, the Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation and Development Programme has, with help of the navy, reduced blast fishing for several years.
However, after the simultaneous withdrawal of the navy around 2004, dynamite fishing quickly resurfaced to pre-project levels.
Our investigations have found that one of the brave fisheries officers suffered a vicious acid attack in April 2011 that cost him an eye and one patrol boat was burned at Kigombe, making it clear that the dynamiters have now become a force in Tanga that can openly challenge the government.
Stakeholders believe that with clear political will from the highest authorities in the country, from national to regional levels, dynamiting could be stopped even in the short-term.
They say the dynamiters are individuals who are generally known to the communities and to local government.
Speaking in terms of solutions, a foreign investor based in Kilwa District, Lindi Region, said: “We need full government commitment. It should actually become a political campaign issue.”
He added: “We always complain there is no money to solve the problem, but that is not the real issue. We forget that you can start small, instead we always want to have huge boats, huge budget otherwise we can’t move.”
He says it would be enough to be serious and arrest a few people, for real, and condemn them to 20 years in jail, and dynamite fishing would stop.
“I have seen with my own eyes dynamite fishermen blasting in front of State House in Dar es Salaam and nothing happened. I have also seen tourists taking pictures with a camera in front of State House and getting arrested. So this is total lack of commitment and priorities.”
A short term intervention of the navy would clear the seas of these thieves of the sea, then a constant use of intelligence with spot mission will completely eliminate the problem, he says.
“But we need somebody to care about it within the government. We need a pool of serious magistrates to work on wildlife crime in general, from poaching to dynamiting,” he said.
He added: “People who are prepared and understand the seriousness of such crimes and who are not taking bribes. Do it small but efficient and things will start to change.”
He said dynamite is not only extremely detrimental for the environment and for the tourism industry, but a huge danger to national security.
“With so much explosive being so easily available and with zero control, the danger for the gas platform is huge. Anyone could easily blast the whole thing up very easily and put the country to its knees. How is it possible that nobody cares in the government?” he wondered.
He said a former Kilwa District commissioner had told him that he (the DC) saw with his own eyes a fisherman throwing dynamite over the gas pipe lines from Songo Songo Island to Dar es Salaam.
Coastal area management vital in illegal fishing fight
By George Sembony, The Citizen Correspondent, April 22 2014
There were six CMAs covering the entire coastline of the three districts of Tanga, Pangani and Muheza extending to 12 nautical miles territorial water limit
Tanga. Villagers living along the coast in Tanga Region have appealed to the government to revive coastal area collaborative management area programmes (CMAPs) in a quest to stem the rising wave of illegal fishing activities along the coast, including dynamite fishing.
Speaking at the end of a fisheries stakeholders’ meeting recently in Tanga, the villagers said that past experiences in areas where villagers were actively involved in the management of the resources showed that only active participation of the locals, serious awareness education and funding initiatives would eliminate dynamite fishing and save marine life from extinction.
The meeting, which was organised by the Tanga City Council, with funding from a local non-governmental organisation, Tumaini Environmental Conservation Group (TECG), through a grant from the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) through Mazingira Network (Manet), was the first in a series of meetings that would lead to the establishment of the Tanga City Coastal Resources Co-Management Plan.
The participants in the meeting included village chairmen, ward and village executive officers from 20 Tanga District coastal villages and officials from the Tanga Tourist Network Association (Tatona).
They noted that revival and maintenance of such plans resulted in reduced illegal fishing activities, hence the need to strengthen and sustain involvement of the people in the management of marine resources, the government has been urged. “The reasons for the general lack of enthusiasm from villagers to participate fully in the protection of coastal resources include dishonest officials who were leaking information on pending patrols, lack of working tools and funds,” participants pointed out.
Disaster that’s dynamite fishing
An official with the Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park displays an explosives made from dynamite allegedly imported from South Africa. The explosives were seized during one of patrols conducted by the marine park along the Tanga coastline. PHOTO | LUCAS LIGANGA
By Lucas Liganga ,The Citizen Reporter, April 17 2014, http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Disaster-that-s-dynamite-fishing/-/1840...
Dynamite fishing along the Tanga coastline is out of control. The authorities have been given a list of suspects who supply the explosives and market the ill-gotten fish.
Kigombe, Tanga. Sixty-year-old Ayoub Seleman has spent half his life fishing for a living. But the father of three can no longer be guaranteed that he will be able to feed his family, let alone invest in the future.
Seleman is a resident of Kigombe, 36 kilometres west of Tanga city. He is one of 12,000 fishermen whose livelihoods are now at risk—thanks to dynamite fishing. Ten years ago, he used to catch up to 20kg of fish a day not far from his village. These days, he is lucky to reel in four kilos, which earn him nothing but pocket change.
There are over 12,000 fishermen working 3,000 fishing vessels along the 320km Tanga coastline and they watch helplessly as their catches dwindle day after day—all because some fishermen no longer want to do things the traditional way. Fishing requires patience. They would rather blow their prey out of the water.
Tens of hundreds of families that depend on the fishing industry along Tanga’s coastline are, at this rate, unlikely to meet Millennium Development Goal Number One that seeks to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 due to decreased fish catches caused by dynamite fishing.
The father of four says: “I have seen enough. I can easily hear, and sometimes see, five to six dynamite blasts in a week, especially during low tide and when the sea is calm,” the father of four says. “They explode the coral reefs which are breeding and feeding grounds for the fish,” says the fisherman. “The overall fish catch has diminished a great deal.”
The damage this kind of fishing does is not limited to what it kills on the spot. The effects are widespread and it takes a long time for the fishing grounds to regenerate. Seleman adds: “When a coral reef is destroyed, it takes 50 years or so to recover. Dynamite fishing is creating a desert in our seas. In a way, the corals can be compared with the grass on land. If there is no grass, there are no animals. Hunters cannot catch anything in the desert.”
Dynamite fishing along the Tanga coastline is out of control. The authorities have been given a list of suspects who supply the explosives and market the ill-gotten fish. The criminal gangs also make sure that any of their accomplices who are caught in the act are not convicted. They are often released within days and take revenge on those who report them, The Citizen has learned in a week-long investigation.
Seleman adds: “I have been fighting dynamite use all my fishing life but it is a hard to win because the dynamiters have well-connected godfathers.” A list of notorious dynamiters and their accomplices in the government was reportedly handed to Tanga regional authorities some time ago,” according to Seleman, “but nothing seems to have been done.”
The Tanga regional police commander, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP) Constantine Massawe, admits having received the list and adds: “We have investigated some of the people mentioned and we have managed to arrest some. We are still working on the list.”
There are more than 60 people named, among them fishermen and owners of fishing vessels. The list includes the kind of fishing vessels they use, their landing sites and where they store the fish they have blasted out of the water.
Also on the list are village government leaders, fisheries officers, key traders and distributors and employees of cement companies—who reportedly supply some of the explosives. Our source said he was giving up his crusade against dynamite fishing after receiving threats that his house would be set ablaze.
In a recent world map of the Global Reefs at Risk initiative, Tanzania is the only African country where dynamite fishing occurs. “At one time, we arrested a notorious dynamiter and he was charged in court where he was fined Sh50,000,” said the fisherman. “We spent more than the Sh50,000 fine commuting between our village and Tanga city to file and later, follow the case proceedings.”
When the fisherman was eventually freed, he vowed to take vengence on all those who were behind his arrest and sentencing.
Officials at the Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park—a park specifically created to protect the local population of prehistoric coelacanth fish once thought to be extinct—share the concern of local people.
The largest population of coelacanth in Tanzania is 40 or so and has been reported in the Tanga coastal areas of Kigombe, Mwambani and Mwarongo. Research has established that coelacanth lives as deep as 150 metres.
Anita Julius, a senior marine conservation warden at the Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park, says she is worried that the remaining few prehistoric fish living within the marine park’s 552 sqkm might be affected by the dynamite blasts in future.
She adds: “The coelacanth might be safe, at least for the time being, because they live up to 150 metres deep. We have not done research to find out the impact of the blasts but they might be affected since they depend on the same marine ecosystem that has been affected by the dynamiting.”
Michael Kishosha and Shabaan Shemboko, marine conservation assistants with the Tanga Coelacanth Marine Park, describe the situation as alarming. They say a patrol boat at the marine park was burnt in 2011 by people suspected to be dynamiters.
A survey conducted in Tanga region in the 1990s showed that 10 per cent of coral reefs were damaged beyond recovery while 70 per cent had significant damage but could recover if protected against future damage.
“The figures must be much worse now,” says an ecologist who does not want to be named for fear of the vindictive dynamiters. “Once blasted to rubble, corals take decades, even centuries to grow back, and some reefs will never make it back it to life again as a result of continued blasting.”
Each blast kills all fish and a lot of other living organisms within a 20-metre radius and completely destroys the reef habitat. It is a wasteful fishing method as only three per cent of the organisms killed are harvested.
Our investigations have established that most of the explosives are leaked stocks from quarries, mines, road building projects and cement factories where police apparently have little control. Some of these explosives are used for burglaries in Dar es Salaam and elsewhere in the country.
“The question is: what will stop terrorists from using dynamite as a political weapon in Tanzania, as they do it elsewhere?” the ecologist asks.
For reasons that are hard to understand, he adds, the country seems oblivious to such a possibility, with dire consequences for lives and properties. Obadia Ngogo, the Tanga-based officer in-charge of monitoring, control and surveillance in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, reckons there is a need to review the fisheries legislation to make it more effective.
“The possession, trade and use of explosives should be treated as a treasonable offence that attracts the highest penalty,” says Ngogo, whose role is to oversee fisheries resources in the sea and water bodies in Tanga, Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara regions.
Lack of political will is also to blame for the upsurge in dynamite fishing. Says an industry source who declined to be named for fear of state reprisal: “We need full government commitment. Dynamite fishing should actually become a political campaign issue.”
According to Ngogo, councillors plead with them to free dynamiters who are arrested. Councillors plead to us to free them. “They ask us why we failed to alert them on an imminent crackdown,” he adds.
Another source in the fisheries department said a dynamiter who was jailed for three years was released after only a year allegedly due to a pardon from a higher political hierarchy.
But Tanga Regional Commissioner Chiku Galawa says there is political will to fight dynamite fishing. What is lacking is resources, she argues. “Plans are underway to convene a meeting of all coastal regional commissioners and other relevant authorities such as the police, Tanzania Revenue Authority and fisheries department to brainstorm on how to go forward,” Ms Galawa said
Use of dynamite fishing on rise in spite of govt efforts
By George Sembony ,The Citizen Correspondent, January 24 2014, http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/Use-of-dynamite-fishing-on-rise-in-spit...
“The situation is obviously still precarious. Blasts are reported by stakeholders such as hotel owners now and then,” said a vividly disappointed Mbogo who pointed out that the continuing dynamite fishing was not only causing a threat to marine resources but also the economy by affecting tourism sport in fishing.
Tanga. Dynamite fishing is still a major threat causing sleepless nights for the fisheries patrol unit along the coastline in Tanga Region, despite efforts made by the government to control the devastating fishing practice, it has been learnt here.
Speaking in Tanga yesterday, the Head of the Patrol Unit, Mr Zebadiah Ngogo, mentioned the major reasons for persistence of the destructive fishing practice as including poor control of explosives acquired by quarrying companies at Kiomoni and Amboni in the city as well as shortage of working tools and staff in the unit.
“The situation is obviously still precarious. Blasts are reported by stakeholders such as hotel owners now and then,” said a vividly disappointed Mbogo who pointed out that the continuing dynamite fishing was not only causing a threat to marine resources but also the economy by affecting tourism sport in fishing.
He said that explosives from the companies seemed to be loosely controlled, finding their way to fishermen who use them in dynamite fishing. He said that stakeholders, including the Tanzanian Dynamite Fishing Monitoring Network, a voluntary network of marine conservationists as well as the private tourism and fisheries sectors had reported dynamite blasts.
Mr Mbogo mentioned areas with widespread dynamite blasts as Kichalikani, Kijiru in Mkinga District and Mwarongo and Mwambani villages in the Tanga City area.
He noted that while the State had spent millions in educating villagers in the Tanga coastal area, through the Irish government supported Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation and Development Project, the coastal society mindset over combating dynamite fishing was still poor.
Tanga Controls Illegal Fishermen
daily news, BY NESTORY NGWEGA, 21 JANUARY 2014, http://allafrica.com/stories/201401210101.html
Tanga — THE government in Tanga Region has managed to control illegal fishing, including dynamite fishing, along the region's coastal Indian Ocean waters following an intensive operation that was carried out last year with a view to eliminating the vice.
The operation, which was carried out at different times last year, apprehended about 20 suspects who were allegedly involved in illegal fishing especially those who were using dynamite and prohibited small size nets.
According to Tanga Regional Commissioner (RC), Chiku Gallawa, illegal fishing is unacceptable in the region, just like any other place in the country, because it caused a lot of environment destruction in ocean waters. It also damaged the eco-system creatures.
Giving statistics, the regional boss said that during the operation about 240 kilos of fish, which were killed by dynamite were impounded and destroyed before reaching the market.
"Dynamite fishing is dangerous not only to the environment, but also to human beings because the fishes may contain dangerous chemicals, toxins and poisons that can be dangerous to health when consumed.
"We fought illegal fishermen vigorously and succeeded to some extent in reducing the harm they cause to society. The patrols continue," she said. She further said that six water vessels which were used in dynamite fishing, 10 dynamites, 20 arrows, five guns and 60 illegal nets were impounded in Tanga, Mkinga and Handeni districts.
She said that all arrested suspects were prosecuted in counts of law where some cases have already been heard and judgements handed out and others were still continuing at different levels.
She, however, said that apart from such challenges the fishing sector was doing well though there was a slightly decline in terms of productivity last year as compared to the harvests acquired in the previous year.
Giving an example, she said that in the year 2012 about 481 tonnes of fish were harvested, but last year only 316 tonnes of fishes were landed in the region.
Some fishermen use dynamite to blast fish colonies or their breeding grounds ruining the ecological balance of the coastal area. The fishermen also use banned gear such as gillnets, monofilaments, beach seines and others.
These fishing gear have been banned mainly because they catch all sorts of fish including the young. Some fishers trap fish using Thionex or Thioden which are poisonous chemical compounds that are dangerous to human health.
The medical world is aware that apart from being potential killers, Thionex and Theoden can cause impotence in men. These dangerous fish catches are sold in the entire coastal area and farther afield.
Open fishing tourney thrills fans in Tanga
BY JOSEPH MCHEKADONA, 18th November 2013, http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=61675
Tanga Yacht Club
The two-day open fishing championship attracted 13 teams ended yesterday in Tanga city’s shores. The event coloured the shores of the city as boats kept struggling against the high-amplitude waves but safety was maintained to the end. Fans converged at the Tanga Yacht Club where the event was organised to see variety of fish hooked by the competitors.
Tanga Cement Company Limited was behind sponsorship that saw 70 individuals of the 13 teams display their fishing talents in the Indian Ocean shores. Speaking about the event, Tanga Cement managing director, Reinhardt Swart said the company is proud to be associated with the event for the fourth year in a row. He said the event is one of the biggest social events in the region as it attracts people of all walks of life including business communities, employees of his company and other individuals from within and outside the region.
Swart said participants at this year’s event were in 13 teams with four to six anglers each and the most attractive team was the one nick named ‘Lady Diana 3’ exclusively composed of ladies in their boat. “This time around we are lucky to have an exclusive boat with lady members. They displayed their fishing talents and added value to this event that has been organised by Tanga Yacht Club,” he said.
One of the participants, Asif Ganijee from Tanga who got nothing during the opening day of the event complained it was tougher than the previous ones because of water pollution resulted from illegal fishing. “I have been in fishing industry for more than ten years but illegal fishing by using gun powder has worsened things. Gun powder destroys fishes’ laying areas like corals and if no serious measures are not taken right now, the whole Tanga ocean area will be having no fishes,” he said. He said they have reported the matter to the authorities but so far no action has been taken. THE GUARDIAN
Tanga coastline infested with blast fishing
BY PETER MOHAMED, 20th September 2013, http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=59517
Dynamite fishing along Tanga coastline
Dynamite fishing –the easiest way of killing fish for harvest, is a vice which nobody no longer has time to bother – its repercussions in society notwithstanding.
In essence, it is an activity which almost every fisherman-at least as far as the Tanga coastline is concerned, would wish to venture into, considering the vast harvests obtained after only a single blast has been done.
Experienced fishermen testify to the fact that one act of bombing is capable of killing thousands of fish – those already due for harvest and the young ones, even the eggs.
Bomb blasts is disastrous to marine life ecosystem, in that it kills the entire breeding grounds for fish, including coral reefs-home for the fish species. In the process, corals – very delicate creatures which build up coral reefs when they die, are affected.
As matters presently stand, the activity has now taken root . In fact the perpetrators are now so free in their ill intentioned mission that they believe nobody no longer has any interest to follow –up whatever they do.
In some fishing villages, the residents doubt whether the government has muscles enough to eradicate the vice-the malpractice having taken too long to wipe out.
“Do not expect wonders, for how do you expect dynamite fishing to be brought to a control when the people whose role is to prevent the bombing and bring those responsible to book are partners in the vice? ‘says Omari Rashid, a fisherman along Kigombe sea waters.
“Previously, patrol officials were doing a good job-arresting those engaged in dynamite fishing and taking them to court. Not now’, said another fisherman in the same village in an exclusive with The Guardian at the weekend.
Fishermen in various villages along the Tanga costline waters, including Mwambani, Tongoni, Mwarongo, Maere and Chongoleani who talked to this paper on condition of anonymity say as long as government officials collude with the perpetrators in the illegal business, it is difficult to expect an end to the vice.
“Government officials, being custodians of patrol schedules, give the bandits tips wherever patrol boats are due to do surveillance on a particular day and area involved. When the bombers get the information, they refrain from going ashore”, said a 75 year old villager living at Kigombe, a notorious area for the activity.
Dynamite fishing, a get rich quick illegal venture- surfaced in the country’s sea water over four decades ago. Word has it that it is also commonly in practice in Pemba Island.
Apparently, the source of the blasting equipment is so far unknown, though some people say they are obtained from quarry dealers and others from neighbouring countries on the south.
“In the last few years, it was tolerable. One would hear a blast or two in a day. But now as many as ten blasts can be heard in a single day”, according to a retired government official – a resident of Mwarongo. He adds ‘these people are now operating fearlessly. It is as if no body is against the vice”.
A marine tourism investor, recently said a group of ten German tourists who were snorkeling and sunbathing on a shore ran to safety after they heard bomb blast very close to where they were relaxing.
Seasoned fishermen say that a single blast can kill millions of fish. Most of those killed are left to stay afloat while hardly a quarter of the loot is harvested and loaded on to boats.
Recent reports have it that illegal fishing has now been extended to harvesting of dolphins – protected tourism attraction as well as whales – the largest marine mammals in the sea.
Marine tourism stakeholders along the Kigombe sea waters whose role is to protect and develop the tourism potential and the natural ecosystems say apart from the notorious bombing of fish habitats, bandits are now turning to dolphins hunting.
Such reports were, however, recently countered by Hassan Kalombo, Tanga Deputy Regional Administrative Officer (Economy and Development).
“It is not true that dolphins are being hunted, because for what reason should dolphins which are a protected specie be endangered,” he quipped.
In the same vein, Kalombo denied the other claim that hunting of whales was already in progress.
“Whales normally live in deep seas. They seldom visit shallow waters, which means unless the fishers have very sophisticated machines, there is no way they can fish them out”, he said, adding that whales can weigh as much as 20 tons.
‘Dolphins live in tributaries and gulfs and can be eaten by humans. But on account of the fact that they are a protected specie, it is uncommon to see one going for them”, said Tuwa Juma, a resident of Maere.
Kalombo was agreeable that the prevailing wave in respect of dynamite fishing was threateningly high. “In my view, the vice is unstoppable because courts of law unleash light sentences to those convicted of dynamite fishing”, he says.
“The fisheries Act No.22 of 2003 stipulates that punishment for first offender of dynamite fishing is five years jail sentence, but our courts seem to be using the penal code which allows such offenders to escape with suspended sentences, “concluded the fisheries expert, adding that with such minor punishments, the perpetrators have no reason to abandon the otherwise lucrative business. THE GUARDIAN
Fish were caught with explosives fill market
(Translated from Kiswahili) BY OUR REPORTER, 21st July 2013, http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=57292
Residents of the city of Dar es Salaam have been told to take caution and vigilance when buying fish in the evening, due to claims that some vendors are caught using explosives. The alert comes after the Sunday Guardian long term investigations, which found that fish was sold those times to avoid being detected.
This has been learned despite a government campaign to seek out people who are involved in this fishery, still bad in the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean. Places mentioned for excessive dynamite fishing are Coast Bagamoyo, Kawe in Kinondoni Municipality and Mbuyuni Kigamboni area, Temeke Municipality.
Some fishermen who managed to speak to this newspaper on condition of anonymity of their names for safety, said people involved in illegal fishing using many techniques to incorporate fish market. They said many people from starting to identify such fish, fishermen sell to places of gatherings of people in the evening without being detected easily.
One of the fishermen, said another way is to put dynamited fish in freezers which makes them hard as if they were legally caught fish. "Bombed fish becomes soft due to being smashed in the blast, their eyes also appear red due to bloody bruises," he said, adding "small fish are sold to fish there and the atmosphere on the beach."
That said, the big fish stored in the refrigerator for up to one day to freeze solid. "When hard from ice they cannot be bent, thus it is difficult to discover if it is caught with a bomb," he added.
Secretary General of the International Market Ferry Fish, Barak Hill, pointing to the issue, he said that they have managed to control the fish from entering the inner circle of the market. However, he admitted there are embedded smuggled period, but most of them are sold out of the market in particular in the Kigamboni ferry. "It's hard work because they have to confront threats characters, remaining fish we have to be careful only to enter here with us," says Hill.
It is difficult to apprehend
Some fishermen say they are difficult to capture because they have a large network. They said if there is an exercise of arrest, have reported earlier, it is easy for them to run. "There are people who collaborated with various parts, even the police officials, it becomes difficult even to mention as we can risk our lives," said one of them.
FISHERIES OFFICER speaks TEMEKE
Fisheries Officer Temeke Municipal, Teddy Chuwa he admit the existence of such a situation, where he gave a figure of more than 50 people have been arrested and taken to court. He said they have a special operation to arrest these people and lead to decrease the incidence of these species by 70 percent.
Chuwa explained that there are effects of eating fish caught with explosives yajitokezi though not fast, it warned people to not buy them. The official said in the marine environment, these bombs destroying the coral reefs that are fish hatcheries and destroy the ecology of the organisms living in the water.
Public Relations Officer of the regulatory authorities of the Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) Gaudensia Simwanza, pointing to the matter said, that still has not received notice to enter the market for these fish. "We are working to watch fish entering the market, but I have not received any information as such there is, let the food do I contact the department will then provide information," said Simwanza. However, he said that the fish control is carried out by the department of fisheries councils in Dar es Salaam, should exercise caution driven the fish is not easy to enter the market and sold unofficially. Nipashe / Guardian on Sunday
Tanga grapples with battle to contain dynamite fishing
BY ABDALLAH BAWAZIR, 15th March 2013
Destruction of coral reefs threatens the marine organisms
Before the early 1960s, cases of dynamite fishing were unheard of. By then, fishermen used traditional fishing methods -- acceptable fishing nets manufactured by local experts-specifically made to ensure that marine ecosystem was not harmed. Dynamite fishing or blast fishing is the practice of using explosives to kill schools of fish for easy collection. The vice is extremely destructive to surrounding ecosystem as explosion often destroys under lying habitat-such as coral reefs that supports the fish.
History says the illegal practice has been in existence prior to World War I. In those days, it was mostly widespread in parts of Southern Asia and Coastal Africa. In Tanzania, the vice surfaced in early 60’s. Since then, it has been difficult to control mainly on account of the fact that some unscrupulous fisheries officials are teaming up with perpetrators of the illegal practice. “Most of us living in fishing villages along the coastline, realize the hazards caused by dynamite fishing,” says Omari Mwatuwa, resident of Chongoleani village, a settlement situated along the Tanga-Mombasa highway.
Although knowledgeable on the effects of the illegal practice, most villagers say it is difficult to expose the bandits because those who are expected to deal with the malice have themselves hand in the deal, according to a retired fisheries officer who preferred not to be named. “It is not easy. It is extremely impracticable to do anything as far as control of the vice is concerned”, said another villager, Mwasimba Kombo in an exclusive recently. “If you want to confirm what I have said, visit any market place where various species of fish are sold and you will find that scores of dynamited fish are on offer openly”.
He says “Fish killed by dynamites are easily noticed. In fact one does not need to posses a degree in marine life to say which fish is blasted and which is not’. Impeccable sources claim that there is currently a network linking the bandits and some patrol officials. The latter say the sources tip off the blasting team when patrol days are due, so that they refrain from going ashore on such “dangerous days.’
People within fisheries circles, believe that the officials colluding with the bandits may be doing so on noticing that courts of law have not been meting out deterrent sentences to suspects taken to court for dynamite fishing. Dynamite fishing is a deadly vice, in that it destroys marine environment, hence threatening major sources of food and income for the people living along the coast, says a retired environmental expert. “In my view, the watchers have either gone to sleep or might have been overwhelmed by the prevailing situation,” he says.
So far, hundreds of illegal fishermen have had parts of their bodies severed, particularly arms, while trying to unleash grenades into an earmarked site. At times, the detonators explode in their hands before they are thrown out to a targeted spot. A government report issued recently says that over 100 casualties have so far fallen victim of the blasting.
Some people fear that the pipeline transporting natural gas from Songosongo in Lindi to Dar es Salaam’s power generating plants may one day be hit by dynamites. Those who showed concern with the escalating wave of dynamite fishing are worried that the trend, if not arrested in time may result in more serious shortage of fish in coastal communities. “Population growth is threateningly high.
If the present trend of blast fishing is left to flourish, definitely fish stock will drastically go down in a few years” according to Amiri Mwaduga, a resident of Tongoni. Says another,” Dynamite fishing is a serious activity, in that it threatens the economy and the livelihood of small scale fishermen who earn their income solely through fishing.”
Eighty-year old resident of Mwarongo, Sarai Shekuwe, speaks ill of those engaging in the illegal act, warning that deliberate efforts, and not mere rhetoric, are needed to stamp out the malice. Narrating a sad incident, a stakeholder said recently that a team of tourists from Germany, who were his customers, out on a snorkeling expedition heard blasts on the shores – metres from where they were having lunch at a sand bank. “They told me that while they were there, they heard heavy blasts which caused their ears to ring for several hours after wards,” claimed the hotel owner.
Some people suggest that the young generation is made aware of repercussions arising out of illegal fishing through introduction of a topic in school syllabuses. Those who have vast experience in fishing claim that a single blast can kill over 60 percent of the fish, with most of them drowning, hence, only 40 percent is harvested. “Normally killed fish remain deep in the sea for sometime, to come afloat when they are already rotten,” says Mweri Togo, a seasoned fisherman, a resident of Mwarongo, another fishing settlement.
People who live in areas notorious for blast fishing, including Moa, Kichalikani, Kigombe, Mwambani and Mwarongo say at least ten blasts are blown out a day. THE GUARDIAN
Back fight to halt dynamite fishing
6th November 2012 - The Guardian
After a misleading lull, an alarm has been sounded about resurgence of dynamite fishing, this time unleashing more destruction on the marine environment and threatening major sources of food and income for the people living along the coast.
We also learn that in reality the destructive activity never stopped, only that those supposedly on watch might either have gone to sleep or might have been overwhelmed by the situation.
A government report on dynamite fishing says the activity claims about 100 casualties every year, many hit by the explosives used to kill the fish, in the process destroying their breeding grounds.
What should be borne in mind and prompt a more robust campaign against dynamite fishing is that the method is unsustainable as it kills the fish, breeding grounds and sources of food for the fish.
What is more, most of the dynamited fish is lost in the sea denying communities this abundant food, rich in protein.
Last year, we published a report speaking of the destruction caused by the illegal activity and warning that the pipeline transporting natural gas from Songosongo, in Lindi Region to power electricity generation plants in Dar es Salaam was also in danger of being hit by dynamites.
Crusaders against dynamite fishing said then that illegal fishermen and women were conducting their activities around the gas pipeline, putting the vital economic installation at risk.
But what was even more worrying were the allegations by the crusaders that their efforts to stop dynamite fishing have hit major snags, accusing local government authorities of being reluctant to cooperate with the campaigners.
Indeed they went further to allege that some of the local leaders colluded with the criminals after being given bribes.
They blamed the situation on poor enforcement of illegal fishing regulations and laws on the part of local government authorities, and lack of cooperation between and amongst the organs involved in controlling illegal fishing in the areas.
The dire situation has moved a young schoolboy who is a junior member of the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club and a keen diving enthusiast, Ryan Ogg, to organise a sponsored walk to publicise the issue of dynamite fishing along the coast of Tanzania.
He wants to donate the money raised to Sea Sense, an organization actively working at preventing dynamite fishing in Tanzania and provide advice to fishermen on more environmentally friendly fishing methods.
We are sure that all people and institutions concerned at the deteriorating situation, will give unstinted support to the young schoolboy. We owe it to our future to support this boy with a bold vision.
There is also the need to carry out a more intense surveillance of the areas identified as notorious in dynamite fishing. Reports have named Msasani, Fungu Yasini, Kimbiji, Yaleyale, Kisiju, Amani Govu and Jibondo in Dar and Coast regions; Moa, Kichelikani, Kigombe, Mwambani, Mwarongo in Tanga and Matapatapa, Njianne, Somanga, Pombwe and Jaja in Lindi region as among such regions.
The government must revisit the campaign against dynamite fishing, with a view to making it more sustainable in a bid to rid our coastline of the vice once and for all.
Toxins, dynamite fishing threaten supply of delicious Rufiji lobsters
BY BEATRICE PHILEMON, 12th September 2012
DDT, Théodan pesticides, urea based fertiliser, dynamite and gas fishing are threatening Rufiji delta's infamous prawn supply as well as other marine resources in the sanctuary. This is despite the area being a reserved national wetland and a newly added site for protection in accordance to the Ramsar Convention which is an international agreement that provides for the conservation and good use of wetlands.
As the residents occupying the delta prepare for evacuation and relocation ahead of the expected floods and subsequent submergence of the land they now call home, their very health is reported to be endangered from the illegal use of toxic chemicals to fish in the area.
Coast Regional Commissioner Mwantum Mahiza visited Nyamisati for a meeting with villagers, land and forest officers on the matter and the ongoing illegal logging and agricultural activities that are threatening the ecosystem of the national mangrove forest. "My focus here is to caution them against invasion of the national mangrove forest for paddy production, charcoal making and overexploitation of mangrove forests for timber and log...," she explained.
It is reported that there is a steep decline of fish in the delta and surrounding islands, researchers have cautioned that if serious measures are not urgently taken to reverse the situation, dynamite fishing and the deployment of other toxins will continue to affect prawn fishing in the Rufiji delta and other marine resources too.
Prawns are an important foreign exchange earner and they flourish in the mangrove ecosystem and, hence the dire need for the villagers, who are the artisanal fishermen, to be educated on environmental conservation, the effect of illegal fishing and use of toxins in the delta and the general practices to conserve the forest and prawn sanctuary.
The supposedly reserved and protected area is also plagued with the overexploitation of mangrove for timber and charcoal to meet demands in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam regardless of the environmentally degrading and even potentially irreversible impact.
Mahiza, called on all village leaders in Nyamisati, Salale and elsewhere, to cooperate and work with the authorities from among other organs, the Zone Mangrove Management department, the Rufiji District Council and forest officers charged with conservation and protection of the forest.
"...don't involve political issues in this project...," she cautioned the local government leaders and then called on agricultural experts to train farmers on modern farming technology and methods particularly in paddy production.
Efforts are currently direct at first hand contact and engagement with villagers to sensitise them on the issue to also identify their various areas of need and to then and in the process impart modern farming methods as well as hybrid seeds that will cope with the delta's saline conditions and the on going climate change that will see the area submerged in the not so distant future.
Efforts are at this time, based on the given report not effective and a new approach or rejuvenated effort must be employed to save the delta and the prawn industry. It is first and foremost every individual villager's personal responsibility to care, nature and protect the delta as is the case for all natural resources endowed across the nation and double the charge on government policy makers as well as environment care organizations.
Located about 250 miles south of Dar es Salaam, the Rufiji River Delta is by far the largest in Eastern Africa and contains the largest estuarine mangrove forest on the eastern seaboard of the African continent. A large part of the area is covered with the salt tolerant mangrove forests covering an estimated 55,000 ha and offers shelter to migratory wetland birds and is home to a large variety of aquatic life. Even the Nile crocodiles are found in the selta as are hippopotamus, otters, and the sykes monkeys. THE GUARDIAN
Environmental Degradation Rife in Dar es Salaam
DAILY NEWS, BY BILHAM KIMATI, 30 JUNE 2012, http://allafrica.com/stories/201207020067.html
SHOCKING dynamite fishing and random sand extraction in Dar es Salaam continue to pose serious threats to the environment and possible depletion of fish as coral reefs are destroyed at an alarming rate.
Addressing participants to a two day Climate Change Adaptation seminar that brought together experts and councillors of Temeke Municipality recently, the District Commissioner of Temeke, Ms Sophia Mjema said destruction of the breeding grounds of fish through dynamites jeopardized people's lives. "Surveillance teams jointly formed by Temeke municipal authorities and Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism have encountered massive destruction of coral reefs near Koko-Beach and beyond.
It is not enough to punish perpetrators, but public education on environmental conservation is necessary. Depletion of fish will affect people's livelihoods," DC Mjema observed. Effects of climate change like floods, powerful sea waves, cyclones, high temperatures and drought, the DC added, are evident and destruction of the environment such as dynamite fishing, destruction of the mangrove forests and other related activities complicated the situation.
However, the administrator underlined the role of the community in preventing unruly acts, saying that villagers can help identify those behind dynamite fishing and indiscriminate sand collection.
Dynamite Apologists, Dealers and Fishermen - Saboteurs of Nation's Wealth and Future, DAILY NEWS, BY ANNE OUTWATER, 6 MAY 2012 http://allafrica.com/stories/201205070062.html
In order to quantify the effect of dynamite fishing a colleague and I are comparing two collections of shells. One collection was picked up from the beach very casually in two days on Mbudya in 1989. The other was noted much more carefully over a much larger area - Dar es Salaam and Pwani and all the nearby islands including Mbudya, between September 2009 to April 2012. There are more than 3,200 mollusk species found in the western Indian Ocean region. Since no guide book has them all and the scientific names are still changing, our identifications are approximate and tentative.
I think I collected one each of: Strawberry Top (Clanculus puniceus), Violet Snails ( Janthina janthina), Spider Conch (Lambis lambis, Sw.Nyangale), Hump-backed Conch (Strombus gibberulus, Sw. Chuwale mchanga), Mauritian conch (Strombus decorus, Sw.Chuwali), Moon Shell (Polinicus mammilla, Sw. Honga), Tiger Cowry ( Cypraea tigris), Isabella Cowry (Cypraea Isabella), Egg Cowry (Ovula ovum Sw.Yai), Partridge Tun (Tonna perdix), Tonna cepa, Murex trapa, Rock Shell (Chicoreus ramosus, Sw. Chofu), Dog Whelk (Nassarius coronatus), Tulip shell (Pleuroploca trapezium), Olive Shells (Oliva bulbosa), Mitre Shell (Mitra stictica), Vase Shells (Vasum turbinellus), Augur shell (Terebra crenulata), Textile Cone (Conus textile), Conus tessalutus, Conus magus, Scallop (Chlamys senatorius), Fluted Giant Clams (Tridacna squamosa), Red Cockle (Acrosterigma rubicundrum), and Nutmeg Shell (Triginostoma scalariformis).
These shells are all in good condition. Each of the tuns, which appear very fresh, and whose shells are relatively fragile, has one small hole in them. They were probably victims of carnivorous mollusks (such as the Murexes that pierce shells with radular teeth). This means that the ecosystem was so rich and plentiful on Mbudya it could support carnivorous mollusks, that is snails that eat other types of snails.
In my colleague's shell notes of 2.5 years, there was nothing that I had not seen in a few hours in 1989. On the other hand, in all her many hours of studying shells in recent years, she had never seen much of what I had so casually picked up. She "hasn't ever seen" on the beaches: strawberry tops, Isabella or egg cowries, tuns, murex, olive shells, augurs, textile cones, scallops, violet snails, fluted clams, or cockles.
This is evidence of tremendous loss. If this is what has been lost in mollusks imagine what is lost in fish, corals, sea urchins, all the richness and treasure - food and beauty and lucre - that naturally proliferates along East Africa's shores. Some of this damage is certainly due to pollution, but much of it is due the continued shredding of the marine environment in Tanzania. Not in Kenya, not in Mozambique, Tanzania in particular is being shredded by dynamite. Hundreds of years of coral growth can be destroyed in an area of 4-5 meters with one dynamite blast.
Ecosystems that had been emitting incredible food continuously for millennium, now in the space of two decades are literally shattered. Not only that... the dynamite fishing is now spreading from Tanga south to areas where it has not been heard and seen before - sure indication that there are too few fish left near home to make it s worthwhile. The results include: fish have no place to be safe, and responsible fisherman have no food to catch.
Even hermit crabs- the very creatures that would clean the beaches with their scavenging - have nowhere to live. Sea food has become very expensive and even along the coast it is no longer readily available as protein a poor person can rely on. Tanzania's future is being laid to waste. Mwalimu Nyerere said Tanzania's natural resources are meant to be used in such a way that they are delivered safely to our children's grandchildren.
In fact, when he stepped down, he left Tanzania with its very strong resource base virtually intact, and in many ways structurally improved. I want to ask him, "Why are some of your children stealing from and ruining their own grandchildren's future?" The people involved in dynamite fishing are thieving from the future by shattering the resource base. Mwalimu would correctly call them "saboteurs" and I am quite sure he would question why they are being allowed to continue in a way that so clearly undermines, now and for the future, the wealth of the nation and the health of the citizens.
Photo is from the Chumbe Island Website. I was given permission by Sibylle Riedmuller who is in charge of Chumbe and the website to use them. Coral reefs provide shelter and food for many marine creatures. Hundreds of years of growth can be destroyed by one dynamite blast in an area of 4-5 meters.
Illegal fishing thrives in country's coastal strip
By Correspondent, 18th February 2012
Amidst public outcry from fish consumers who seem to be concerned by the escalating prices of the commodity in markets, illegal fishing continues to dominate the fishing industry, particularly along the coastal strip... The crime, commonplace within the entire 800km coastline, stretches from Tanga, moving southwards to Kilwa.
Contrary to expectations of sections of people that there is future in the industry in view of government efforts to step up strategies aimed at elimination of the vice, what is actually happening is quite the opposite. "The prevailing strategies in place, have no impact on perpetrators of the vice because people who were supposed to control and bring to book those engaged in the crime, are themselves major players." said a retired senior government official.
The official, a resident of Tongoni ward in the city, talking on condition of anonymity, said it was futile for the government to expect elimination of illegal fishing, a vice which has persisted for over four decades when morals within its own officers was quite different compared to the time when they were first employed. "At least, the way I see it, the future is bleak, unless the officials assigned to control illegal fishing stop colluding with perpetrators of the vice, " he warned.
Incidents of dynamite fishing, particularly, is now frighteningly on the increase along the fishing villages on the coastline. Impeccable reports have it that a single blast is capable of capturing a haul which can fill five or seven dhows - depending on the site where the dynamite was ignited. "Blasts carried out in deep seas are more harmful to fish population, because a part from destroying coral reefs, most of the fish blasted are not collected because once the illegal fishermen have filled their dhow, they leave the particular area, leaving a large portion of killed fish floating in the water," according to Salehe Mwinyikombo, a seasoned fisherman residing at Mwarongo village, Tongoni ward in the city.
"Patrol boats are suitable equipment for combating illegal fishing. But they can only produce the desired outcome if its operators have clean morals," he said, adding that at present, some unscrupulous government officials expected to deter the bandits from their illegal acts are best informers of the crime busters. "What happens is the bandits, most of them financially well off, are provided with up to date information with regards to patrol schedules so that they refrain from operating during patrol days."
The situation with regard to illegal fishing activities is precarious, with some people, fishing stakeholders, believing that the vice has a well planned network involving some fisheries officials, police and courts of law. It is not easy to control the vice because people involved in the sophisticated operation are individuals with financial muscle. Arrest one of the perpetrators today and tomorrow, you see him on the streets a completely innocent individual."
Some residents living at Kigombe and Mwarongo, the two neighbouring villages, claim that notorious villages where dynamite fishing is rife is Mungura, Tongoni, Mwaboza and Kichalikani. "At Kigombe, it is difficult to come across dynamite fishing activities. After all, we were the only village doing patrol under the Tanga Coastal Zone Conservation and Development Programme before the project wound up business a few years ago," said Yunus Omari, a resident of Kigombe, on the Tanga - Pangani road.
But it was at Kigombe that a government owned patrol boat under the Tanga Cilicate Marine Park (TCMP) was crudely set on fire by unscrupulous bandits at odd hours of the night about two months ago. The boat, a two engine vessel with 60 hose power each, was enchored along the sea shore, near the Park's offices. "It is true that the boat was set on fire by unknown bandits, but I can't say for sure where they came from. This is a matter subject to investigation by polices', confirmed Hassan Kalombo, a fisheries officer in the Tanga regional secretariat.
He said " It is through luck- that the boat engine was not involved, since it is always removed when the patrol boat is not in operation." Kalombo said in an interview that the body of the boat was not burnt, having been under water. "Those who say the perpetrators are not among the villagers of Kigombe, know what they are talking about, but what I can tell you is that bandits from any of the other villages can not operate without the collusion of people living the affected area", asserted Kalombo. "That was purely sabotage done by illwishers."
When a team of National Environemental Managerment Council (NEMC) officials, accompanied by police from Tanga city arrived at Kigombe, they witnessed over ten dhows parked outside the Marine park. "The dhows you saw near the Park's office, had been seized by patrol officials after their owners had abandoned them on fear of arrest and so they ran away," said Kalombo.
The dhows owners were suspected to be those operating by using banned fishing nets which are common among small scale fishermen. "The arm of the law only reaches the small timers. Those who can not afford sophisticated fishing year, including dynamites. Otherwise, the big timers will never be touched," quipped a 35 year old fisherman at Kigombe. Whereas courts of law have been blamed for meting out sentences which do not, in any way, deter the alleged culprits, the judicial officials on their part, attribute failure to met heavy punishment to alleged offenders to lack of credible evidence. THE GUARDIAN
Tanga RC declares war on dynamite fishing
By Correspondent, 8th February 2012
Tanga region commissioner Chiku Gallawa has directed Tanga,Mkinga and Muheza district authorities at different levels to come up with short- and long-term strategies aimed at combating dynamite fishing. She said at the regional level the government had already devised a strategic plan to combat the illegal fishing practice, but added that regional efforts had to be complemented by district, ward and village efforts.
She said it was saddening to note that dynamite fishing was on the increase in Tanzania, particularly in Tanga region's coastal areas, while in neighbouring the malpractice had been contained. "Dynamite fishing is not practised in neighbouring countries; it is only done in Tanzania. This is shame to our nation and our region. We must work together to combat this illegal fishing practice," she stressed.
Officer in charge of Kigombe Marine Park Sylivester Kazimoto said his office, in collaboration with marine police, had been undertaking patrols, but they could not carry out regular patrols for lack of funds for fuel and shortage of staff. He was however optimistic that following the intervention by the government and other stakeholders, efforts to combat the menace would succeed.
Meanwhile, Gallawa has warned the residents to stop selling their land, especially on the sea front, saying they might in the end find that they were left with no land for themselves. She said in spite of the government's policy to welcome investors, land should be seen as a valuable tool to the local people's development.
She said some investors had been rushing to grab pieces of land from wananchi, buying them at very low prices for the purpose of putting up tourist hotels and other economic ventures, but warned that the greed for money would leave the locals with no land of their own. THE GUARDIAN
Limited budget holds back fight against dynamite fishing
By Gerald Kitabu, 17th January 2012
This week the interviewed OPTATUS BENNO KALOLELA, a marine conservation assistant in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development on the effects of dynamite fishing along the Indian Ocean. Excerpts:
QUESTION: Before getting into details of dynamite fishing, how does life look like in the sea?
ANSWER: the sea is a good habitant of many living things. Most of them live and feed in salt water. A good example is fish, sea grass, mangrove trees, corals, coral reefs and a lot of different species. Sea grass are used as a source of food for fish, reducing the impact of sea erosion and gives the sea special features for tourism attraction and research studies.
Q: What exactly are coral reefs?
A: They are living organisms with a tendency of accumulating together during their life. When corals die, they make hard structures like stones called coral reefs. These structures are good habitat and spawning site for fish. The corals are food for fish and other different species living in the salt water. However, coral reefs are good protectors of sea from erosion as they reduce the speed of water direct to the beach and cliff. They are also good attraction for tourism.
Q: What is the relationship between the coral reefs and fish in the sea?
A: The two have very close relationship. For example, the coral reefs are breeding sites for fish. However, in recent years, many coral reefs have come under severe attacks from dynamite fishing which is an illegal activity. Many people involved in this type of activity are those living near the sea.
Q: What is dynamite fishing?
A: It is an illegal fishing that uses explosive devices that kill fish and other creatures under the sea. It is done by ignorant people who believe that it is the best way of catching fish while in actual fact they cause destruction of breeding grounds. However, dynamite fishing depletes mangrove trees which in turn accelerate sea erosion.
Apart from destroying beach environment, dynamite fishing is not well handled, can kill someone or cause disability if it explodes before the estimated time.
Further more, dynamite fishing destroys some fish species which do not want disturbances like the coelacanth and cause desert in the sea.
Q: What can be done to fight dynamite fishing?
A: We can control all sorts of dynamite fishing by providing education to both fishermen and the public. However, there is a need to review the laws governing fisheries and impose severe penalty for anyone caught using dynamites. The government can form an intelligence unit to gather information. Another thing is patrols.
Although it requires massive resources, the government can work out plans to ensure constant patrols along and in the Indian Ocean. The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development has the responsibility to conduct education campaigns on the effects of dynamite fishing and create awareness among the public on the use of better fishing tools.
Q: Which are the most affected areas along the Indian Ocean?
A: An investigation shows that the most affected is along the indian Ocean especially Islands of Kendwa, Makatube, Sinda, Bongoyo, Mbudya and Funguyasini.
Other areas include Kijiwemtu, Kijiwesimba, Mbutu, Gezaulole, Gomvu,Changayahela and in the shallow waters at Kikuli and Karage.
Q: What are the challenges?
A: One of the challenges is that the ministry has not yet given dynamite fishing the required weight to combat it. Limited budgetary allocation for patrol to reach and cover many parts of the sea.
Q: What is your advice?
A: The government through the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development should ensure that it gives priority to dynamite fishing, by reviewing laws, strengthening patrols and education campaigns if we have to fight out dynamite fishing and make the sea a better place for aquatic animals and other living things. THE GUARDIAN
Illegal fishing killing factories http://dailynews.co.tz/home/?n=26541&cat=home
Illegal fishing still problem in Tanga Region
By Lulu George, 1st December 2011
Illegal fishing is still practised in Tanga region, according to a city official. Speaking at a consultative meeting recently, Tanga city fisheries officer Evarest Kalolo said some illegal fishnets had been impounded and 14 fishermen been taken to court for illegal fishing. Kalolo noted that there were some dishonest fishermen, who used poison, small size fishnets and explosives.