Dar junk fish sold off, despite RC`s ban



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Feb 11, 2007


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Dar junk fish sold off, despite RC`s ban

By Edwin Agola

9th January 2010

Foreign fish found at Dar es Salaam`s Feri Market has been sold without laboratory sampling analysis results, defying the order by the Regional Commissioner.
Lukuvi discovered the existence of the illegal fish dealings during his impromptu visit to the Fish Market in Dar es Salaam last week, and imposed an indefinite ban on the business pending certification from the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA).
He said his office was tipped off that the market was the entry point for containers allegedly ferried in from China, India and Yemen. He said: "The ban will stand pending approval by responsible government authorities, including TFDA".
A spot check by The Guardian yesterday witnessed the sale of the foreign fish at the market. One of the fishmongers Ally Bakari Mangushi said it was business as usual.
The market's Environmentalist Health Officer Mkuu Hanje said the RC's concern was valid since importers sell the fish without laboratory sample testing, which is crucial for verification and whether they were fit for human consumption.
According to Hanje, TFDA Cosmetics regulations of 2006 and its Act of 2003 states that "No imported food shall be removed out of the customs area before it is inspected or examined and certified as fit for human consumption by inspectors."
He said they have not received new consignments since the RC visited the market. He said that market authorities have come up with new procedures requiring all importers to surrender photocopies of relevant documents before selling their merchandise.
Fidelis Ntima, Ilala municipal fisheries officer said in an interview that businessmen are capitalizing on the low supply capacity of small fishermen by importing species that are available in the country. "Most small fishermen use outdated equipment and fish in the same area regularly, resulting in low catches, " said Ntima.
TFDA Director General Margaret Ndomondo-Sigonda stressed the importance of laboratory tests because some products require physical inspection before use. She added that she could not confirm whether the foreign fish consignment was checked.
Early this week, over 200 tonnes of imported fish used as bait in other countries were found stocked in godowns in Dar es Salaam by Livestock Development and Fisheries Minister, Dr. John Magufuli at a Kipawa-based fish processing factory.
The minister challenged relevant government institutions and agencies like the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) among others to make sure that such worthless imports were not allowed to penetrate the country's market at the mercy of local consumers.
"We shall not allow the country to be turned into a dumping place under the pretext of trade liberalization, globalization and open market and that it is unacceptable to import fish that are used as bait in countries like China, Japan, India and Yemen for consumption", said Magufuli.


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