The Value of Tanzania Fisheries and Aquaculture: Assessment of the Contribution of the Sector to Gross Domestic Product
Lilian Ibengwe and Fatma Sobo
Abstract .—The socioeconomic importance of the Tanzanian inland water and small-scale marine fishing industry and aquaculture sector in the country’s development cannot be understated. With a coastline of 1,450 km2 and richly endowed with natural water bodies, the fishing industry plays a fundamental role in food security, sustainable livelihoods, and poverty reduction. However, the fishing industry and aquaculture sector’s contribution has been underestimated in past years; hence, it is not fully recognized as an economic sector that contributes significantly to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The published value of the fishing industry and aquaculture sector contribution to the GDP is not reported holistically. The GDP contribution of the fish harvesting sector of the fishing industry is estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics as part of the agricultural gross product (AGP), in accordance with the System of National Accounts (SNA). The AGP accounts for only the value of the fish harvesting sector’s activities, whereas the economic contributions of postharvest-related activities are accounted for under other sectors like manufacturing. This study focused on providing appropriate information about the overall value of the fishing industry and aquaculture sector. A production approach method was used to evaluate value-added contributions to the national GDP. The analysis found that the fishing industry and aquaculture sector’s contribution to the GDP in 2011 was 3.07% as compared to the published GDP of 1.4%. This difference suggests that the fishing industry and aquaculture sector’s contributions to GDP may have been underestimated by a factor of 2.2 and indicates that a postharvesting processing sector plays a significant role in GDP contribution. These findings provide a different perspective on how to calculate fishing industry and aquaculture sector contribution to the GDP from the existing structure of economic activity classification set by the SNA. To complement this information, the study also summarizes the contribution of the fish harvesting, postharvest processing and aquaculture sectors to employment. This study also calls for improved data collection and information related to the fisheries’ postharvest activities. At the policy level, there is a need to rethink and prioritize development of the fishing industry and aquaculture sector in Tanzania.