Tanzania: rufiji, ruvu and wami

Legal Issues and Enforcement

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Legal Issues and Enforcement

Tanzania has legal provisions for the management of almost every natural resource and several institutional authorities responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the rules. Main issues include lack of effective enforcement, low penalties for offenses, and a long and cumbersome procedure to enact and pass by-laws relevant in local areas. At present, some of the penalties are low compared to the cost of the damage to the environment and magistrates use their discretionary powers to reduce sentences further. For instance, the Fisheries Act directs that any person who possesses or uses explosives or electrical devices for the purpose of fishing will be penalized by a fine not exceeding 500,000 Tanzanian shillings (Tshs.) (US $757) or imprisonment for not less than three years. Available records from the Bagamoyo District Natural Resources Office show that, of the six fishermen arrested in 1990 in connection with dynamite fishing, two were convicted and each paid a fine of Tshs. 2,000 (about US $3.50). It is apparent in this case that the law is loose and allows culprits to continue their illegal activities. To change this situation, the environmental awareness of magistrates must be raised. They should be made to understand and appreciate not only the use-value of these resources but also the importance of these resources' ecological functions.

Due to increased control of dynamite fishing in the area, more young men and women seeking employment have moved into the lime-making business, using coral dislodged from coral reefs. Political leaders in the region applaud these young people for their creativeness and initiative in being self-reliant. To the leaders, this phenomenon diffuses the unemployment time-bomb, which the government has failed to disarm. What emerges is a serious situation that calls for immediate awareness-building for the politicians and government leaders in order to protect the environment and biodiversity

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