Edna A. Nyika and Dr N. Jiddawi
Institute of Marine Sciences
University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The paper traces the origin of fisheries research in Tanzania since the establishment of the East African Marine Fisheries Research Organisation (EAMFRO) and the East African Freshwater Fisheries Research Organisation (EAFFRO) under the old East African Community. After the dissolution of the Community, research work was taken over by the national successor institutions, the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) of the University of Dar es Salaam and the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) respectively.
Research trends indicate a slow start in the early 1900s peaking up after the 1980s. Between 1929 and 1999, a total of 334 references on marine fisheries was identified.
Figure 1. Trends in fisheries research
Out of the total identified references, about 70% remain as grey literature and only 16% (52 reports) was found to have been published in international journals. The rest of the references appear in reports of proceedings. A few are M.Sc. and Ph.D. theses. The 'grey literature' was difficult to access with only one copy of the document available, in many cases with the author (Fig. 2).
Figure 2. Presentation of research
In terms of spatial coverage, the studies show bias towards areas with research institutions or donor-funded projects. The majority of the reports come from Zanzibar, Mafia, Mtwara, Tanga, Dar es Salaam and Songosongo. A few are from Rufiji, but large areas of the country remain unstudied (Fig. 3).
Figure 3. Research coverage
On subject coverage, the majority of the work (43%) deals with fisheries development followed by coral reef and reef-associated fisheries. Other areas covered include conservation, protected areas, fish taxonomy, biology, resource status, and aquaculture (Fig. 4).
Figure 4. Subject coverage
FISHERIES INFORMATION AVAILABILITY IN TANZANIA
In Tanzania several institutions deal with fishery related activities. These research or training institutions deal with marine and freshwater fisheries.
The University of Dar es Salaam
At the University main campus, the central library is the main information centre, although information relevant to fisheries and aquatic biodiversity is found in other centres, including the Faculty of Aquatic Science and Technology; Institute of Marine Sciences, Institute of Resource Assessment, and the University Consultancy Bureau.
The Institute of Marine Sciences
Until recently the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) library was the only library with many fisheries publications. This is because the institute inherited all the books, reports and reprints owned by the defunct East African Community. On top of the inherited materials IMS has continued to receive fisheries technical reports from FAO and ICLARM/WorldFish Center.
IMS library holdings
IMS library holdings include general collections, periodicals, theses and dissertations. Science and Biology Abstracts in CD-ROM are also kept in the IMS library, FAO technical reports, undergraduate students project reports, postgraduate dissertations, theses and ASFA (Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts) CDs. The IMS also maintains all reports from consultancy works undertaken by staff of the IMS and other University Departments. With assistance from FAO and ODINAFRICA the IMS has access to ASFA and other fisheries related databases on Internet.
The IMS library is managed using Inmagics DB/TextWorks software purchased through support from the ODINAFRICA project under the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO funded by the Government of Flanders (Belgium).
Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI)
The Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) is the lead fisheries research institute mandated to carry out short term and long term fisheries research both in the marine and freshwater ecosystems. TAFIRI comprises five centres including, Mwanza and Soti on Lake Victoria; Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika; Kyela on Lake Nyasa; and Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean. The Dar es Salaam centre also serves as the Institute's headquarters.
TAFIRI quarterly and annual reports;
TAFIRI bulletin and research reports;
Donations received from outside, including various journals and technical reports;
Programme/project reports, covering specific topics, CD-ROMs including ASFA, FishBase and FAO FISHSTAT.
Mbegani Fisheries Development Centre
Mbegani Fisheries Development Centre, established in 1967, offers long-term training in a number of courses including boat building, marine engineering, fish processing, marketing and quality control. In addition, the Centre offers short and tailor-made courses in fisheries and fisheries related sciences. Mbegani was a partner in stock assessment surveys conducted in the early 1980s by Bergen University, Norway. Reports from this assessment however still remain in the Norwegian university.
Data and information in Mbegani relate primarily to the courses offered in the centre. Documentation holdings include textbooks, journals, newsletters, and CD-ROMs. The centre attempted to produce the Mbegani Fisheries Bulletin, but discontinued after the first release due to financial constraints. A new effort is planned to compile traditional ecological knowledge of coastal fishing communities.
Fisheries Division, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism
The Division of Fisheries in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) is responsible for the formulation of fisheries policies, the development of management plans and strategies, and the enforcement and monitoring of fisheries legislation. The division generates lots of information on the country's fisheries, particularly information on fish catches. For this purpose, the division uses TANFIS (Tanzania Fisheries Information System), a software developed through FAO assistance.
Unlike most other institutions, the Fisheries Division has trained information technology specialists, modern computers and Internet connectivity enabling fast processing of the huge data. The Division plans to links departmental computers through a local area network with further plans to upgrade the link to a wide area network linking data capture centres to the headquarters.
With all of the successes in fisheries development in Tanzania there have been problems related to fisheries information availability and management. Most of the institutions dealing with fisheries management have expressed concern on the following constraints:
Lack of adequate resources to enable purchase of recent publications.
Lack of qualified information professionals to manage data/information.
Inability to access the Internet.
Lack of accountability by the library users. Theft, hoarding and mutilation of books are a common problem leading to diminishing the few library materials.
Reluctance of librarians to learn modern techniques.
Improper handling and storage of data/information. Unreliable Data. Due to weak supervision, data collectors often 'cook up' data to satisfy requirements.
Time lags in data collection and compilation. Two or three-year lags in fisheries statistics is quite common limiting the efficacy of the data.
Lack of capacity to collect, collate and analyze data.
Inadequate knowledge of available information - due to absence of bibliographic materials.
Inadequate research work and research publication.
Inadequate space for library activities.
Since most establishments fail to provide for information specialists, it is necessary to create an establishment for information managers/librarians within fisheries-related organizations to be responsible for information and documentation. This demands recognition of the important role of librarians and information managers within scientific information management.
Sensitization on the need for active data and information management is important in order to gain support at all levels. Currently, there is no active data and information management system in place to guide fisheries activities.
Capacity building in the field of information management. This requires increased budgetary allocation for information-related activities. Most institutions require support with equipment and Internet connectivity to enhance information access and sharing.
To encourage scientists to freely share their information, there is a need to institute security measures to ensure information ownership. This would primarily involve encouragement and assistance in information publication.
Translate research information into packages easily understood by all stakeholders. Research results should be made available in simple, easy to access formats taking into consideration the level of technological development of the country. Research should also be targeted to specific problem-solving in collaboration with resource managers and users.
Strengthening data collection efforts of the Fisheries Division, the national focal point for fisheries matters. The strengthening could take the form of improving extension services to prepare fishermen to assist in collecting simple data such as landing data.
A national network of institutions dealing with fisheries and aquatic biodiversity management should be established with the aim of improving linkages between relevant institutions in order to minimize duplication of effort through keeping departments up to date on efforts by the other organizations. Networking would require putting in place mechanisms or legislation to facilitate data sharing and exchange.
Libraries and information centres should be organized to form the nucleus of the networks of fisheries-related organizations.
Compilation of an annotated bibliography of all the materials published on the marine and freshwater environments in Tanzania. The bibliography will contain annotated references on the Tanzanian aquatic environment that have been published by both local and foreign scientists. The document will provide a quick reference for subjects that could be directly utilized for management purposes. The coverage of the annotated bibliography will be on all existing literature (grey literature, reports, theses, brochures, proceedings, working papers, journal articles, textbooks, books, newsletters and magazines) on the aquatic environment in Tanzania.
Identification and organization of all 'grey-literature'. This would involve locating the literature, spiral binding retrieved information and finally archiving the materials in a central location.
Tanzania has carried out fisheries research activities for many years and hence has many publications to be shared by scientists within and outside the country. If these research findings are collected, organized and made accessible to all, Tanzania could make a great contribution to the African Fisheries Information Network.
 Jiddawi, N.S. 2000. Status
of marine fisheries research in Tanzania. In: Report of the National Fisheries
and Biodiversity Documentation Workshop, Institute of Marine Sciences, Tanzania,
30th October 2000, pp 10|