September 20, 2008

Tanzania: State Increases Fishing Licence Fees for Foreign Vessels

Text of report by Edwin Agola entitled "Magufuli hikes foreign trawler fees" published by Tanzanian newspaper The Guardian website on 20 September

The government has increased fishing license fees for foreign vessels.

Announcing the new rates in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the minister for livestock development and fisheries, John Magufuli, said foreign Pursen seiner vessels would now be paying 12,000 dollars for three months or 5,000 dollars per month instead of 16,000 dollars they were paying per year.

Local Pursen seiners will pay 4,500 dollars for three months or 1,500 dollars per month.

Magufuli said foreign long liner crafts would be charged 32,000 dollars per year or 3,500 dollars per month instead of 16,000 dollars they were paying per year.

Local long liners will pay 1000 dollars per month or 6,000 dollars annually.

In line with the hike of fishing license fees, the minister said from now onwards, all foreign vessels would be required to berth at Dar es Salaam, Tanga or Mtwara ports.

"From now onwards, foreign vessels operating in the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] are supposed to refuel in our ports and are not allowed to throw into the sea the undesired species they have caught. They should instead be brought to the port for internal markets," Magufuli said.

He added that foreign vessels were required to employ at least three Tanzanians and one observer-cum researcher from the government when fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone.

Under the new measures geared at addressing the problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the country's territorial waters, foreign vessels are required to fix a monitoring system that would be connected to the fisheries department to countercheck the activities while fishing in the EEZ.

Captains of the foreign vessels should have a map showing Economic Zone along Tanzania ports and are not allowed to fish in the inner sea and territorial waters, the minister said.

Foreign vessels are also required to avail information on the date they entered the Exclusive Economic Zone, amount and the type of the catch in the vessel.

"They will be also required to update the director of fisheries about their business on daily basis," he said.

The government last month banned prawn fishing using trawling method carried out by big fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean, following the revelation of research findings compiled by the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute that showed a decline in sea products.

According to the findings, the prawn population has decreased from 1,320.1 tons in 2003 to 202.5 tonnes last year, apparently caused by illegal fishing.

The ban also followed findings that indicated that big foreign fishing companies licensed to fish under the Exclusive Economic Zone were plundering from the country's territorial waters without paying any taxes.

Fisheries contribute 1.6 per cent only to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in spite of the vast resources the country is endowed with in its territorial waters.

Originally published by The Guardian website, Dar es Salaam, in English 20 Sep 08.

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