By Felix Andrew
DESPITE having abundant water annual fish consumption for Tanzanians is below required units as proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba has said.
WHO propose that every adult to consume at least 14 kilogrammes of fish per annum but the figure for Tanzania stand at below seven kilogrammes.
According to Tizeba, more efforts are needed to boost the figure so as to increase income and improve livelihood of Tanzanians. Tanzania is a home to various rivers, lakes and Indian Ocean which act as a fish breeding sites.
He said at the moment, Tanzania produces more than 20,000 tons of fish per annum from its water sources which a great portion is exported.
However it was reported that consumption of seafood continues to go up some members of the business community are importing fish and the government has been boosting aquaculture to stave off a rising demand.
Fish products play an important role in the country's food security and domestic economy. It contributes to people's well-being as to nutrition, income, employment, and as a readily available food supply.
According to researcher from the Institute of Marine Science- University of Dar es Salaam Dr Narriman Jiddawi, the quantities of fish which is caught is more than 25,000 tonnes in recent years.
This figure includes an estimate of about 5,000 tonnes, the quantity consumed in the fishermen households, which is not included in the official statistics.
The per capita consumption of fish is high, between at least 25 and 40 kg/person annually. Fish is the major contributor of animal protein in the diet of the average Zanzibaris, and is almost the only animal protein for the lower income groups in the population.
Fish production has been increasing for the past few years, mostly attributed to fish farming, and more people becoming fishers. Despite an increase in fish production, Zanzibar still needs more fish to meet the rising demand due to booming tourism industry.
The fishing sector is mainly dominated by small-scale subsistence fishing. Some of the constraints facing fishing industry include inadequate technical expertise, management skills, insufficient financial resources and lack of adequate tools to manage and control the development process.
To bridge the gap between demand and supply, Zanzibar government has put in place strategies, which include allowing importation of fish from abroad and to increase production by establishing of aquaculture.