CAGE fish farming is increasingly becoming crucial as fishermen experience a declining stock of fishes in Lake Victoria, says Musoma Rural Member of Parliament, Prof Sospeter Muhongo.
“There is a significant decrease in the number of species of fish in Lake Victoria, the solution now is cage fish farming,” said Prof Muhongo.
And looking to promote the fishery sector and improve fish production, Musoma DC has embarked on promoting cage fish farming. Prof Muhongo said the Musoma DC has been making deliberate efforts to improve fisheries, one of the key economic activities for people along Lake Victoria.
According to the former Energy and Minerals Minister, fishermen in Musoma constituency have been forming fishery cooperatives and groups in order to secure fishing tools through loans or sponsors.
Musoma DC has registered five fishery cooperatives so far, namely; Kome Fisheries Cooperative Ltd, Kasoma Fisheries Cooperative Ltd, Bwaikumsoma Fisheries Cooperative Ltd, Busumi Fisheries Cooperative Ltd and Kurukiri Fisheries Cooperative Ltd.
According to Prof Muhongo at least five fishery groups, including Kurwera from Busamba Village, were finalising their registrations. Others are from four islets of Rukuba, Kagongo, Muloba and Nyasaungu.
Cage farming involves keeping fish in any type of enclosure and holding them captive within an enclosed space whilst maintaining a free flow of water.
The cage culture is receiving more attention by both researchers and commercial producers due to factors such as increasing consumption of fish, declining stocks of wild fishes and poor farm economy.
In the 2022/2023 budget, the government unveiled plans to introduce cage fish farming to grow the economy and increase the sectors contribution to the GDP. Tanzania has total inland water surface area covering 62,000 square kilometers, comprising the four main water basins of: Lake Victoria, Nyasa, Tanganyika and Rukwa.
The country also encompasses a territorial sea size of 64,500 square kilometers. These resources offer investment opportunities in fishing, fish farming and salt harvesting.
Despite this enormous potential, statistics indicate that fishing and aquaculture account for 2.2 per cent of the national gross domestic product (GDP), 3 per cent of foreign earnings, engage some 200,000 and 4.2 million people in permanent and temporary employment respectively.
If well utilized, the fishery sector can be the engine of economic growth, source of food and employment, the basis of socio-economic development and industrialisation.