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Tanzanian fishermen pin bright hopes on Chinese-built fishing harbor

Updated: June 5, 2024 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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DAR ES SALAAM, June 4 (Xinhua) -- Sudi Saidi, an artisanal fisherman in Kilwa District of Lindi Region, southern Tanzania, wakes up in the morning with pleasure.

"Since the Chinese started constructing this fishing harbor, my nightmares stopped. The construction of the fishing harbor will boost my fishing business in various ways," said the 45-year-old father of five children over constructing the first fishing harbor in Kilwa Masoko, along the Indian Ocean coast, undertaken by China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC).

Saidi told Xinhua in an interview that after President Samia Suluhu Hassan laid the foundation stone for the harbor's construction in September 2023, the economic landscape of Kilwa District started to change for the better.

Fishermen in the area are pinning bright hopes on the construction of the harbor because it will support them with storage facilities for their fish, he said.

"We used to incur huge losses because our fish decomposed over lack of cold storage facilities, which the harbor will now provide," said the fisherman. "The construction of the harbor also creates jobs for people in the area. My wife is one of the beneficiaries as she is now selling food to workers employed by the Chinese company."

Kilwa District is now a beehive of activities following the construction of the harbor.

Like Saidi, Ahmad Saidi Bakari, 57, another artisanal fisherman in Kilwa Masoko, said the new fishing harbor has benefited the area, including employing citizens.

Bian Liang, project manager of the CHEC Tanzania Maritime Project Department, said progress on the construction of the fishing harbor was estimated at 65 percent.

"Based on progress on project implementation, it is foreseen that at the end of October 2024, the quay and most of its supportive infrastructures will be completed," Bian told Xinhua.

The fishing harbor construction project has employed more than 1,000 local workers, and there will be an estimated 30,000 direct and indirect jobs during the harbor's operations, according to Bian.

Bian said the harbor will also create a catalog of advantages, including a refrigeration center that will assure fishermen of the processing and storage of their fish and a reliable market for locals by adding value to the fish via fish processing industries.

The harbor will have state-of-the-art waste disposal facilities that will enable activities to continue while the environment is left clean, he said.

According to Tanzania's official data, the country has a 1,400-km coastline and a 287,000-square-kilometer exclusive economic zone that boasts rich marine fisheries resources.

"The construction of the fishing harbor is just the first step. We intend to help the Tanzanian government find suitable partners in the operational phase of the harbor to make the country continue writing new chapters in the cooperation and exchanges between Tanzania and China," said Bian.

Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Ulega said the fishing harbor, which will cost 266 billion Tanzanian shillings (about 102 million U.S. dollars), can store 90 tonnes of frozen fish per day.

Speaking after the Tanzanian president laid the foundation stone for the construction of the fishing harbor, Ulega said the harbor, which will be managed by the Tanzania Ports Authority, will also house fish processing plants and a workshop for repairing fishing ships and boats and making fishnets.

He said the harbor will employ more than 30,000 young people. "With a population of 1.4 billion and a vast consumer market with a mature fisheries development system, China will be an assured market for Tanzania's abundant marine products."

Editor: Su Dan