DEEP Sea Fisheries Management and Development Act's regulations were signed here over the weekend, paving way for massive registration of fishing vessels.
Livestock and Fisheries Minister, Mashimba Ndaki and his Zanzibar counterpart for the Blue Economy and Fisheries Abdulla Hussein Kombo inked the 72-page document on behalf of the union and revolutionary governments, respectively.
"Start issuing fishing licences; all we need is money," Minister Ndaki instructed the Deep Sea Fishing Authority's (DSFA) management soon after signing the regulations He reminded the authority to work hard and diligently to attract as many investors as possible, "We have to work diligently and honestly...or else these regulations will remain irrelevant." Mr Kombo warned the agency against undue bureaucracy, directing the deep sea regulator instead to work closely with investors and provide acceptable services.
"You have an uphill task; we want to get maximum benefits from our maritime resources," he said.
Earlier, DSFA Acting Director General, Dr Emmanuel Sweke said the newly signed regulations will facilitate thorough implementation of the Act and promote deep sea fishing.
"These regulations introduce good environment for investors in deep sea through provision of incentives to domestic and foreign investors," Dr Sweke said in his briefing, adding that under the regulations, entry of Tanzanian investors in the blue sector has been simplified.
"We are determined to boost participation of the private sector in the blue economy and reinforce protection of the country's marine resources," he said, hinting that Tanzanians will pay only 16 per cent of the fishing vessel registration fee, enjoying a whopping 84 per cent government subsidy.
Dr Sweke expressed optimism over an influx of investors, thanks to the inviting regulatory environment under the new regulations. Both the union and revolutionary governments have declared their intent to focus on maritime resources to boost the national economy.
Zanzibar President Dr Hussein Mwinyi has vowed to transform the fishing sub-sector and all maritime economic activities for the economic prosperity of Zanzibaris. Meanwhile, the two ministers concluded the Chinese fishing vessel dispute that had remained pending for over three years and sanctioned DSFA to receive one million US dollars (over 2.3bn/-) as economic compensation and licence fee for the 20 fishing vessels.
According to Dr Sweke, the dispute dates back from January 15, 2018 to February 2, 2018 where special Tuna operation by the National Multi-Agency Task Team captured Buah Naga 1—fishing vessel—over illegal fishing.
The seizure compelled other 20 vessels to escape from Tanzania's territorial water without having their catches verified and off-loading the by-catches.
They were then fined 454,545 US dollars (about 1bn/-) each, bringing the total fine to 20bn/-. But, despite protracted consultations, the vessel owners maintained their innocence and refused to pay the fine.
They instead offered 200,000 US dollars as economic compensation and 800,000 dollars for the new licences. The ministerial approval means that DSFA will soon register the 20 Chinese fishing vessels to operate on Tanzanian waters.