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Tanzania: Fisheries Inspectors Undergo Trade TrainingFriday, June 19, 2015 > 09:14:34
All fisheries inspectors are undergoing a week-long training aimed at equipping them with technical and procedural requirements to boost regional trade.
In a statement, Indian Ocean Commission's SmartFish Programme, said the country was part of a regional initiative to harmonise the inspection procedures of regional fish trade.
"About 20 Border Fisheries Inspectors (BFI) from Tanzania are attending this week a training that aims to encompass a variety of technical and procedural requirements that they need to be well versed in to support the regional fish trade," the statement said.
It added that the training which is of its kind in Africa, is funded by the European Union and has so far included 81 public sector inspectors who have been trained from ten countries in the IOC-SmartFish region. Countries involved in the SmartFish Programme include Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
"These inspectors are associated with 52 important border posts in the eastern and southern Africa region through which fish and fishery products are exported or imported," the statement added.
"Various factors have facilitated an increasing movement of fish and fishery products across borders," said Chris Short, IOC-SmartFish Key Expert on Trade. "Border Fisheries Inspectors are responsible for facilitating and monitoring cross-border trade.
The primary role of a BFI is to assess the food safety, quality and legality of a product and the associated documentation against the legal requirements," Mr Short said.
Among other things, the training content includes rules and regulations regarding fish quality and hygiene, trade documentation, legal, illegal activities including transport of illegal fish species, sizes of fish and fishing gear. It also explains how to handle the procedures related to arrest and prosecution.
A field trip to a border for practical training in a real border situation is also part of the agenda, the SmartFish Programme statement noted.
Border posts between the countries in the Eastern Southern Africa region, which is part of the IOC-SmartFish Programme region, are critical to the sustainable management of structured fish trade and are key points in the regional trade value chains for ensuring food safety and legality of shipments being imported or exported.
Developing countries continue to play a major role in supplying world markets, accounting for 61 per cent of all fish exports by quantity and 54 per cent by value in 2012.
As a group, the IOC-SmartFish countries produce about 1.9 million tonnes of fish and seafood every year, representing about 23 per cent of Africa's total fishery production.
The region exported fish products worth US$882 million in 2008,and imported fish products worth US$534 million in 2008. Consequently, the region as a whole had a trade surplus in fish of some US$348 million.