Bunda District in Tanzania invests in sustainable fisheries

Bunda District in Tanzania invests in sustainable fisheries With Lake Victoria being overfished and environmental and ecosystems degradation widespread, sustainable fisheries is a key concern that impacts livelihoods and natural resources in Bunda district, Tanzania. Based on recommendations from a 2014 UNDP-UN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) study identifying institutional, legal and financial bottlenecks for the implementation of pro-poor environmental sustainability, Bunda District has in 2015 included measures to enhance sustainability and in particular sustainable use of fisheries in its district development plan. The District also adopted an investment plan outlining how to finance the implementation of the district development plan.

As part of the implementation of the plan, the District has together with PEI facilitated the formation of 14 fish farming groups (312 members in total out of which 40% are women) with the aim of enhancing productivity and financing options. Two of the groups have in 2015 applied and received loans of $6,200 combined from Twiga Bancorp to initiate cage fish farming which is a more sustainable fishing option than the current practices.

In addition, with support from PEI, farmers have been trained on how to operate fishponds and use fish rearing techniques. Eight fish ponds have now been established in the District and the private sector began fish-farming in three villages (Mugeta, Karukekere, Kibara). In total 38,600 fish have been stocked using the new techniques and women and youth are experimenting with new ways of drying sardines to increase profitability.

The District fisheries officers have further earmarked sites for aquaculture parks in Lake Victoria, based on a 2015 PEI-supported feasibility study. It is anticipated that the aquaculture parks will increase fisheries production, generate employment to youths and women and contribute to prevent environmental degradation.

With PEI support, the National Service Corporation has further constructed a hatchery for production of fingerlings, which is expected to reduce the cost and ensure the quality and constant supply of fingerlings. Informed by the positive district level work in Bunda, the Ministry of Livestock and Fishery Development is currently revising the national fisheries policy to promote a conducive and enabling environment for the fish sector expected to be approved in 2016.

All in all the new integrated approach to sustainable fisheries in Bunda District manifested through district level development and investment plans and the replication and interest in the PEI-supported pilot interventions have the possibility to institutionalize sustainable fishing practices in the district and thereby reduce overfishing in Lake Victoria, the degradation of ecosystems and improve livelihoods. This demonstrates the catalytic effect that targeted PEI district studies and interventions can have.

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