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Task force backs measures for stronger sardine, sprat and perch sector in Tanzania

FISH4ACP to renovate landing sites, improve smoking facilities and carry out studies on stocks, gender and market opportunities

30 September 2022, Kigoma – Meeting to discuss the progress of FISH4ACP in Tanzania, the Lake Tanganyika value chain task force backed a comprehensive package of measures to support Tanzania to strengthen its position as a main producer of Lake Tanganyika sardine, sprat and perch.  

Renovation of infrastructure will start at the Kibirizi fish-landing site in Kigoma, which faces immediate ice shortages. Work has also begun on more efficient and environmentally friendly fish smoking through the introduction of the innovative FAO Thiaroye Technique (FTT) ovens and solar tents for drying sprats and sardine.  

FISH4ACP will select beach management units for community fisheries management activities and conduct a number of studies in partnership with the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) and other researchers - on gender constraints and opportunities in Lake Tanganyika fisheries, on market opportunities of fish products, as well as an assessment in preparation of a fish stock assessment.  

"The Lake Tanganyika value chain task force is like the steering wheel for our work in Tanzania," said Hashim Muumin, FAO Tanzania's FISH4ACP National Professional Officer on the conclusion of the meeting. “We now have strong support for our efforts to make the sardine, sprat and perch sector more productive and sustainable.” 

Tanzania is Lake Tanganyika’s principal producer of sardine, sprat and perch, accounting for up to 85 per cent of the lake’s annual catches. These fisheries employ some 27 000 fishers and 11 000 fish processors. But their future is uncertain as stock levels are under pressure from climate change, poor fishing methods, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and post-harvest losses.  

To help fishery-dependent population in Tanzania, FISH4ACP is promoting the sustainable management of the sardine, sprat and perch sectors, particularly focussing on improved fish handling and processing, on access to high-value markets and on bridging the gender gap. 

"A number of fishermen, processors and business owners in my village wants to know more about improved processing technologies," said Francis Lubuva, chairman of Lake Tanganyika's fisheries community and member of the task force. He added: "We are confident that FISH4ACP will make a difference in many communities on Lake Tanganyika."   

"Research is crucial to inform decision-makers on the status of Lake Tanganyika’s fisheries resources,” said TAFIRI researcher Prisca Mziray, adding: "This information will provide us with the best options for using these resources in a responsible manner."  

FISH4ACP is an initiative of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) aimed at making fisheries and aquaculture value chains in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific more sustainable. FISH4ACP is implemented by FAO with funding from the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).