Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Ali Thabit, now in his 50s, has
been fishing since he was 16. Through the years he has lived
hoping that one day things would take a turn for the better.
His inherited career is currently
overwhelmed with a number of challenges, one being a lack of
reliable market, coupled with the absence of cold rooms, that
would make them store fish before taking them to the market far
from Kilwa, the once famous trading post in southern Tanzania
and East Africa at large.
“But now we’re forced to sell fish at
a low price to fish traders who are within and outside this
area because we’ve no cooling facilities here,” Thabit says
while mending his fishnet on the Indian Ocean coast, a few
kilometers from Kilwa town.
Reports said that Kilwa District
Council is working to establish a fish centre which will be
furnished with a modern cooling system seem to offer new hope
for fishermen like Thabit who has not been enjoying the fruits
of his labour for years.
“This is one of the answers to some of
the problems we have been facing for many years,” the
seasoned fisherman says, as he gets into his engine powered
“It will make us (fishermen)
comfortable and sell our fish at competitive prices which
will in turn improve our welfare,” says Mahmoud Khalifa,
another fisherman in the area.
He says: “During the rainy season the
situation gets worse but now we’ll have a permanent
Located on the shores of the Indian
Ocean, five kilometers from the district’s headquarters, the
centre has the capacity of accommodating hundreds of fishermen
It is also equipped with exchange
rooms for fishermen, something which wasn’t there in the past as
they had nowhere to hide during rains and the sunshine. The
facility has slots for food vendors who will be providing food
services to fishermen in the area in the hygienic environment
compared to the past.
Ahmad Habib, District Fisheries
Officer, says the district council was aware that fishermen are
overwhelmed with a number of challenges.
“This is one of the solutions as
fishermen were being forced to sell fish at a low price, as
they had nowhere to store them,” the official says.
“We delayed to re-open the center
because of water, it needs soft water, and here there is
hard water, so we’re struggling to get soft water to start
operation of this center,” he says.
The official adds that the plant has
the capacity of cooling eight tonnes per day, the situation that
gives time for fishermen to get good money from buyers who come
from outside the peninsula.
Zablon Bugingo, Kilwa District
Executive Director, is optimistic that the new facility will
make the fisheries sector ‘more attractive’ as it is to other
“We’re determined to ensure that these
people (fishermen) earn their living and make the sector
more formalized to the extent it contribute to the country’s
social economic development,” he says.
“The community here is generally poor
and highly dependent on the coastal and marine resources for
food and income. Fish is the main sources of protein in the
district, that’s why this center is an important project,”
the official says.
The district has nearly 20 landing
sites including Kilwa Kisiwani, where the fish center has been
built. Kilwa is said to have the best fishing grounds in and
fishermen are now coming into the district, from as far away as
Mtwara, because local fish stocks are high in comparison with
the depleted stocks elsewhere.
Discovery of natural gas in Songo
Songo island off the coast of southeastern Tanzania’s Kilwa
District in the early 2000s left many predicting that the
country would become the continent’s new economic powerhouse.
But a decade plus on, many people have yet to see the benefits
in terms of changing their livelihoods.