[h=2]Government gets tougher on dynamite fishing[/h] Omari Shemahonge, is a frequent buyer of fish at the Sahare fish collection centre in Tanga City. He normally buys the commodity from fishmongers who arrive at the centre as early as six oclock in the morning. The traders make sure that they are there when the first dhow arrives from fish expedition which normally set off for the sea the previous night. Equipped with a lantern and a spare container for kerosene, fishermen spend the whole night ashore, trying their luck in places where they think fish may be available. Shemahonge, an 80 year old retired blacksmith, previously employed by former Cargo Handling Services now Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), almost always complains of the spiraling prices of fish at the market. I usually go there with a 2,000/- note. But what is given to me is just two or three small fish says Shemahonge, who hails from Makorora location. Back home, the relish is cooked and used for lunch with nothing left for evening meal. The scenario constantly creates squabbles with his wife, Mama Mwantumu, who always tells his husband that the consignment he buys at the market does not, in any way, suffice for both lunch and supper. In view of the high prices of fish at Sahare, Shemahonge has now decided to buy fish only once a week. I cant manage buying fish as often as I used to, says the old man, adding In the past few years, I used to visit Sahare market almost every day, but not now. Unfortunately, Shemahonge does not seem to know why fish prices have, for some time now, been on the rise. What I know is that fish catches depend on the weather. If there is too much wind and the sea is stormy, fish prices will be affected, asserts the old man. It is to be expected that whenever fish buyers go for purchases, even in town markets, they are always given the same reason. This is because when fishmongers buy the commodity from fishermen, they clearly know that some of the products they buy were killed by dynamites. They are well aware that if they reveal that some fish were dynamited, the buyers would refrain from purchasing such lot , reveals Hussein Magongo, another regular buyer of fish at Sahare. The Sahare fish receiving station, like the Deep Sea centre, a stone throw from the Tanga City Council, is an area full of filth. In most cases, one would notice a large consignment of small fish known as uduvi, a yellowish specie, bought mostly by low income wananchi, spread on the sandy beach to dry. A fishmonger who was also complaining of the spiraling prices of fish, Hamdan Bakari said: prices of fish are now out of reach of most of us. In fact I doing this business only out of routine, but it is no longer profitable. He said the real cause of the scarcity is dynamic fishing practices which, according to him, the government had failed to control. It is simply impossible to wipe out the vice, for how do you expect it to stop when the same people in government machinery are partners in the illegal undertaking? he asked. He said over-fishing using illegal gear, including fishing net with small holes was rampant. The problem with this type of nets is that they destroy the entire fish population in a particular area, irrespective of their age, from eggs to juvenile fish and other living organisms. Bakari (70) said he started business as fishmonger at the age of 22, saying some few decades ago fish was available in large quantities and affordable in large to ordinary consumers. The real culprits are people with financial muscle who conduct the illegal business with impunity on grounds that they tame not only patrol teams but also some unscrupulous government officials, he revealed. Tips are given beforehand that on such day, patrol would be carried out on the sea. With such information, how do you expect that one day the illegal practice will be controlled? Experts say that dynamite fishing is harmful to humans because some toxic remnants of chemicals used to manufacture the bombs are a health hazard. Dynamite fishing is also dangerous to marine life, including coral reefs which are breeding grounds for fish. Coral reefs are among the most critical marine resources in Tanzania as they support livelihoods for over eight million people living on the coastal line. Although illegal and highly dangerous, dynamite fishing continues to be in practice along most of the Tanzania coast- from Tanga to Kilwa and Pemba.