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Tuna Fish Seized From IUU Vessel Fails To Find A Market

The auctioning of 299 tonnes of tuna fish recovered from a pirate vessel impounded while fishing illegally in the Tanzania Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters territories, failed to take place in Dar es Salaam yesterday for lack of potential buyers.

The low turn out of potential buyers has reportedly been aggravated by high quotation from the government side compared to actual price at the market.

The fish is currently being stored at the Bahari Food premises in Mikocheni area in the city.

The High Court of Tanzania recently mandated a court broker Yono Auction Mart Company to sell the fish, a fragile product, on behalf of the government.

The broker`s Managing Director Stanley Kevela yesterday briefed the press in the city, saying: “So far only three companies have shown interest in buying the fish offering between 1,500/- and 2,000/- while the government asks for 8,000/- per kilogramme.”

He said lack of permit to export fish to the European Union (EU) market from fishing industries is another factor for the low turn out.

Tanzania signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EU countries that a company should be EU certified to export fish to member states.

A director from the ministry of Livestock Development and Fisheries Godfrey Nanyaro said: “Tanzania could be banned if we breach the contract and the government was not ready to repeat the 1999 scenario by pleasing certain section.”

According to Nanyaro, Bahari Foods Ltd has been storing the fish on behalf of the government at a rate of $800 per tonne per day since March 10, 2009, and that it is the only company in the country that is EU certified. They are also interested in buying the tuna fish.

However, the General Manager Ramesh Chauhan, when reached by the The Guardian on Sunday said: “We cannot afford to pay what the government is asking but we are still negotiating… if we reach a compromise we will buy the whole lot”.

A Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) joint patrol led by South Africa seized a pirate vessel on March 10, fishing illegally in the Tanzania’s EEZ with 30 foreign crews, who are being currently charged in court, and 299 tonnes worth 2bn/- on board.

Tanzania benefits little from its marine resources contributing 1.6 percent to the Gross Domestic Product.