Dar es Salaam. The ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has promised to use the Tilapia Policy proposal submitted by the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (Tafiri) with a view to improving freshwater aquaculture.
The proposed policy, which contains recommendations that stress effective ways of conserving the unique genetic diversity of tilapia for future food security.
The recommendations have come following a seven-year research project on Molecular Ecology of Fish (MolEcoFish), which used molecular ecology to inform conservation of the country’s freshwater fish.
Officiating the opening of a two-day Scientific Conference on “Evolution, conservation and management of freshwater fish biodiversity in Tanzania” yesterday, the permanent secretary in the ministry, Dr Rashid Tamatamah, said the document provided the scientific evidence for decision making.
“The success in developing a sound management system in the fisheries sector depends on research, which provides scientific information for better management. We will use the recommendations to improve the freshwater fish conservation and production of tilapia,” he said.
He appreciated the collaboration between Tafiri and the two United Kingdom Institutions (Bangor and Bristol Universities) under the sponsorship of Royal Society-Leverhulme Trust Africa Scheme, for facilitating the project.
“This task was entrusted to Tafiri and we hope that the deliberation, which will come from this meeting will strengthen stakeholders’ efforts to conserve and utilise our fresh water resources for current and future generations,” he said.
For his part, Dr Benjamin Ngatunga, the former director general at Tafiri said that following the steady population growth, there was a need to increase fish production through aquaculture.
“Tanzania is one of the countries with high number of Tilapia (out of the 32 tilapia species in Africa, 20 were in Tanzania)…We should continue maintaining a system of collaboration, consultation and cooperation with local and international researchers to enhance production of freshwater aquaculture,” he said.