Find Fisheries expertise in United Republic of Tanzania

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries contribute nearly half (45%) of GDP (of mainland Tanzania in 2007), with a coastline stretching over 1,424 km, a water area of 276, 920 km2 and access to three large lakes. Tanzania also has fairly extensive fishery resources and the fisheries and aquaculture industries are crucial to ensuring food security in the country, providing 27% of protein, as well as being a source of export goods. In 2006, 73% of the workforce was employed in the agriculture and fisheries sector.

Fishery products are exported to regional markets such as the Congo, South Africa and the Sudan. In 2007, exports of Nile perch, mainly to the EU market, were worth over US$150 million.

The fisheries can be separated into the marine industrial and artisanal sub-sectors, as well as the inland freshwater and aquaculture sub-sectors. The industrial sub-sector operates both within the territorial waters and beyond in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The catch profile for the marine industrial sector beyond the EEZ is mostly shellfish (shrimps and lobsters), cephalopods and crabs, while within the EEZ the catch profile is mainly tuna, marlin, sword fish and sharks.

Freshwater fishing, all of which is artisanal, has a catch profile mainly consisting of scombrides, snappers, Nile perch and mackerel from Lake Victoria and sardines, Nile tilapia, dagaa and pelagic sardines from the other large lakes, Tanganyika and Nyasa. Small lakes such as Rukwa, Babati and Manyara also contribute significantly to overall national fisheries. A 2006 survey found that there were approximately 39,881 freshwater fishing vessels including boats and canoes.

Aquaculture is a growing sector with much potential for investment. Shrimps, seaweed and tilapia are the most commonly farmed marine produce. Freshwater fish farming is also a growing sector employing around 14,000 people (2013). An estimated 3000 people are involved in seaweed farming which, in the early 2000s, was becoming one of the most popular cash crops in the islands of Tanga and Zanzibar.

In order to manage a growing demand for fish, the government’s approach to sustainability in the industry is to encourage aquaculture, reducing the strain on existing stocks. In addition, some NGO projects are in place to encourage ecological and sustainable fishing methods. The overall goal of the national fisheries is to promote conservation, development and sustainable management of the fisheries for the benefit of the present and future generations.

Fisheries organisations in United Republic of Tanzania
Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism
Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute