At least 20,000 fishermen at Nyumba ya Mungu Dam have to figure out what to do for a whole year after the government announced the suspension of fishing activities.
Announcing the decision, Manyara regional administrative secretary Eliakim Maswi said the dam will be closed starting July 1, this year. The decision was reached during a meeting with stakeholders from Kilimanjaro and Manyara The dam would be closed down closed following the increase of illegal fishing that is carried out with banned fishing nets and poison to catch fish.
According to Mr Maswi, the decision was reached after a study revealed that there was serious environmental degradation at the dam. He said in 1970, the dam was producing at least 25,000 tonnes of fish and that by 2016 only 11 tonnes of fish are produced from the same dam.
Mr Maswi said villages and ward leaders in collaboration with security organs have been asked to collaborate to identify people who fish at the dam illegally.
“The government has given 30 days for fishermen to surrender the banned nets anybody found in possession of the nets after the June 30, this year, they will be arrested,” he said.
He said starting July 1, this year, any fisherman spotted at the dam will be arrested and legal measures will be taken.
“We must adhere to the orders, the government is deliberately doing this to save our economy,” he said.
Fishermen told The Citizen on that the decision is a big blow to their business.