Friday, 23 December 2016

THE HISTORY OF FISH CULTURE IN TANZANIA



The history of fish culture in The United Republic of Tanzania is not well documented. According to Balarin (1985) it started in 1949 with experimental work on the culture of tilapia at Korogwe (in Tanga Region) and Malya (in Mwanza Region) during which many ponds were constructed. These ponds ended up being largely non-productive due to lack of proper management and use of incorrect technology coupled with physical problems such as drought and poor infrastructure. According to reports from FAO, 8 000 fishponds had been constructed in The United Republic of Tanzania by 1968. However, some of the ponds were too small in size (at times as small as 20 m2 ) and with very low production, probably resulting from poor management. 

Water reservoirs constructed for use in homes or for livestock, irrigation and factories or for flood-control were stocked with tilapia. This practice started in 1950 and by 1966, 50 percent of the reservoirs in the country had been stocked by the Fisheries Division. In 1967, the government launched a national campaign on fish farming which was unsuccessful, again due to improper management. In 1972, aquaculture was, for the first time, given some importance in the fisheries policy. After that aquaculture was included in the Fisheries Policy, although always as a low priority sector. Several small aid projects have been directed towards the development of aquaculture in the country but have not had the expected success. Interest in mariculture began with early investigations of seaweed farming including work by Mshigeni who introduced the concept from the Philippines. The first seaweed farms in Zanzibar were started in 1989. 

The United Republic of Tanzania has a good potential for development of mariculture. In 1996 a survey was conducted along the entire coastline for selection of a preliminary shrimp culture site, with support from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The findings indicated that the country has a big potential for shrimp culture which can be developed from the northernmost region of Tanga to the southern most area of Mtwara. The total area identified as suitable for shrimp farming was 3 000 ha from which potential production was estimated at 11 350 tonnes.

However, seaweed farming is so far the only form of mariculture which can be considered an established success in The United Republic of Tanzania. 

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