Four deep sea fishing vessels secure licence to operate in Indian Ocean

Four foreign deep sea fishing vessels have been granted a license to use the Tanzanian flag to conduct deep water fishing within the Indian Ocean.

The Director of Research, Training and Extension Department in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Prof Mohammed Sheikh said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that each licence costs about 70,000 US dollars and may be renewable each year depending on the performance.

“The initiative looks to increase fish catch for improving the average of fish uptake for Tanzanians to meet international standards, promote blue economy, create jobs and transfer marine skills to local populations,” he said during handover of fish Bycatch by a Spanish based company.

He was speaking during the handover of 100 tonnes of fish Bycatch to the government from Pacific star, a Spain based fishing company that is operating in using Tanzanian flag and has a subsidiary office in Zanzibar.

“Last week we granted a licence to four fishing vessels to use our flag and conduct deep sea fishing in the Indian Ocean. The licences also requires that such companies sell locally part of their fishing including they Bycatch which is set to minimise gap of fish intake in the country and promote trade,” he said.

Prof Sheikh added that the license has been granted after Pacific star (locally registered as Pemba Tuna) recorded success in fishing nearly 100 tonnes of Bycatch of other fish species and was ready to sell other 300 tonnes of tuner fish in the local market where local traders my sell them to Tanzanians and outside.

“An individual Tanzanian is estimated to consume an estimated 8.5 kilogrammes of fish a year, against 20 kilogrammes recommended internationally.

The incoming of licensed fishing vessels would increase the number of fish, narrow such a gap and hence, promote economic development and food security,” Prof Sheikh observed.

On his part,  Mr Imanol Loinaz the Fleet Director of Albacora company which owns pacific star vessels  said that his company was working and mentoring local seamen for skills transfer and that future plans is to set up a fish processing factory in Tanzania.

“We have visited some areas in Zanzibar, Kilwa, Tanga and Dar es salaam region where we are analyzing suitable areas for possibly establishing a processing factory in the near future,” he said.

The event was graced by Mr Suleiman Masoud Makame, the Minister for Blue Economy Fisheries of Zanzibar revolutionary government.