31 January, 2012, Danstan Kaunda
Recent unusually heavy rain and depleting marine stocks in the idyllic spicy Island of Zanzibar is deeply affecting the local habitats here forcing government to constitute a technical team on climate change to battle with the daunting global challenges.
According to the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA), the two Islands of Zanzibar and Pemba[frax09alpha] including part of the main Tanzania recorded highest rainfall last rainy season since 1961. This resulted into intense floods in most cities and towns with Tanzanian capital Dar-es-Salaam recording over 40 deaths owing to floods, 5000 families where displaced and properties with billions of Shilling (local currency) damaged.
“We have lost all our properties, in fact we are left with empty hands. Everything in the house has been lost including television sets and refrigerators,” a flood victim in Mabwepande area told the BBC East Africa Service.
“I have three children, one of whom I don’t even know where he is.”
Also, fish and other marine stocks are plunging to predefined levels of acceptance. The Data obtained from the Zanzibar Fisheries department show that in recent year’s fish catches has remained at about 25,000 tonnes annually from the entirely effort of more than 30,000 artisanal fishermen.
Dr Omar Dadi Shajak a Principal Secretary in the First Vice President office pointed-out that fish stock has depleted while most of the arable agricultural lands have been adversely affected by sea water intrusion.
”It’s not an issue for Zanzibar alone but one that touches each and every individual and country globally,” Dr Shajak said.
Fish is the major contributor of animal protein in the diet of the average Zanzibari and is almost the only animal protein for the lower income groups in the population.
Meanwhile, Amani Abeid Karume a sixth retired President of Zanzibar urge fishermen to use modern fishing equipment in order to increase income and fight poverty.
“In order to improve fishing at high sea, there must be modern fishing vessels,” said Karume.
But critics say lack of resilience in policy implementation by government had been Zanzibar’s lip service catastrophe. Zanzibar, with the population of about 984,625, has a fish consumption per capital between 25 and 40 kg/person annually.
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