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Tanzania's Fish Stocks Declining Rapidly

24 July 2013

TANZANIA - According to fisheries experts and marine scientists, Tanzania's fish stocks and other aquatic life are wasting away at an alarming rate in most of the country's water bodies.

Some of Tanzania's better-known water bodies include the Indian Ocean, Lake Victoria, Lake Rukwa and Lake Tanganyika. Unfortunately, most species of fish are extinct in these water bodies. 

According to experts, pollution and environmental degradation are the main cause of extinction of the fish species in Lake Victoria, Tanzania's largest lake, having a surface area of 68,800 square kilometres. They continue to be plundered at a very rapid speed, DailyNews reports.

The trend calls for concerted efforts to safeguard the resources from over fishing and environmental pollution. People residing in the Lake Victoria Basin are at risk due to the pollution of the lake and they are already consuming contaminated fish.

A recent study revealed that there were over 400 species of fish in Lake Victoria during the '20s, but currently, the number has dropped to less than 30 per cent. These include the Nile Perch (sangara), Tilapia (sato) and sardines.

A survey conducted by the Lake Victoria Environmental Management Programme (LVEMP) recently showed that the fish breeding grounds, among other things, have been destroyed to a large extent by water pollution. This could be largelt due to the use of illegal fishing gear such as gillnets, monofilaments and beach seines. 

The use of illegal fishing gear as well as climate change, according to experts from the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI), are the main reasons behind the dwindling stocks of fish.

TheFishSite News Desk

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