Fishing at the ‘Nyumba-ya-Mungu’ hydro-electricity dam in Mwanga District, Kilimanjaro Region continues despite the ban imposed by local authorities here last month.
Authorities in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Manyara regions had closed one of the country’s most important water reservoir from any fishing activity for six months, but recent investigations have revealed boats, canoes and fishing nets floating on the waters. The illegal activity is usually conducted clandestinely during the night and the catch carted away from the area before sunrise.
Apparently the fishermen are experiencing bumper harvest from the Lake-sized dam as fish is now sold on door to door basis and at throw away prices indicating abundance. The Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner, Mr Leonidas Gama and his Manyara counterpart, Mr Erasto Mbwilo have admitted that, people in-charge of safeguarding the country’s most important dam were lenient.
Fish from the Nyumba-ya-Mungu dam is sold in Manyema, Kilombero and Orkesumet areas and as far as the trespassing fishermen are concerned it was unthinkable to render them jobless for six months, because it was their only occupation and the dam is their only working space.
An expert with the Pangani Water Basin Authority, Mr Hamza Sadiki said the dam recorded its lowest level of water by February this year and all due to drought and environment degradation activities including fishing and that is why they had to close it until next August.
“The water level stands at 682.38 metres above sea level which to us is a red indicator signalling danger in its capacity to generate power,” explained Mr Sadiki, adding that the precipitation experienced during the previous short-rains season were inadequate to feed the dam with required water level. Also people tapping water for irrigation from the rivers that channel water into the dam was described to be another cause of the water level reduction at Nyumba-ya-Mungu.
By NAKAJUMO JAMES, Tanzania Daily News