Tanzania launches crackdown on illegal fishing in Lake Tanganyika

DAR ES SALAAM, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) — Authorities in Tanzania on Friday officially launched a massive crackdown on illegal fishing in Lake Tanganyika, one of the oldest freshwater lakes in the world.

Luhaga Mpina, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, said the crackdown should go in tandem with the arrest of local government officials and fisheries officers who protected syndicates of people involved in illegal fishing.

He said 93 boats, 32 vehicles, 16 motorcycles and 5,000 tonnes of fish have been seized since the crackdown on illegal fishing started in Lake Tanganyika, adding that 3,250 illegal fishnets were impounded.

“We have burned all the illegal fishing nets,” said Mpina, directing government officials in the region to oversee the crackdown.

“The government’s position is to make sure that illegal fishing is put to an end not only in Lake Tanganyika but also in all lakes in this country,” said Mpina.

The minister said illegal fishing resulted in depletion of fish stocks in the country’s lakes, forcing Tanzania to spend more money to import fish.

In March this year, Tanzanian President John Magufuli supported ongoing crackdown on illegal fishing in Lake Victoria that was aimed at replenishing fish stocks in the lake.

Magufuli’s remarks came barely a week after the Council of Ministers of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization approved scaling up anti-illegal fishing operations in the lake.

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