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Zanzibar recognizes the role of the Blue economy in promoting socio-economic development through better stewardship of the sea and related resources. This involves the utilization of maritime and marine resources to support inclusive and sustainable economic growth as well as creating employment opportunities. It has the potential to completely transform Zanzibar’s economy. The entire coastline (about 880 km length) of both islands (Unguja and Pemba) has enormous rare marine resources and biodiversity with unlimited potential for development of a fishing industry. The 8th Government of Zanzibar has officially announced that it needs to focus on Blue economy sector aimed at promoting economic growth, social inclusion and improvement of Livelihoods of Zanzibaris while at the same time ensuring preservation of environmental sustainability of the oceans and coastal areas. The sector has diverse components that include established traditional ocean industries such as fisheries tourism maritime transport and also new emerging activities such as offshore renewable energy, aquaculture seabed extractive activities and many more. Investment opportunities in the Blue economy include:
Fisheries : Fisheries play an important role in the economy of Zanzibar as they provide a source of income to about 20% of the population. At present fishery in Zanzibar is largely a marine capture fishery carried out by artisanal fishers within the 12-mile territorial waters around the islands. All fishing activities takes place within 5 miles of the shore, as the fishing craft used are small. Records show many of the inhabitants of Zanzibar have been engaged in fishing activities for many generations. The fish stocks around Zanzibar include small pelagics (sardines and anchovies), coral reef fish (grouper, snapper, parrot fish, emperors), lobsters, prawns, crabs, octopus, squid, and large pelagics (tuna, billfish, sword fish, sharks, king fish, marlins). Seaweed, sea cucumber and seashells are also found. There are differences in the relative abundance of the various species between the two main islands. Reef fish are more abundant at Pemba, while small pelagics are more abundant around Unguja. Large pelagics, lobsters and shrimps appear to be more abundant in Pemba. Demand for fish is increasing as tourist hotels and restaurants seek high species. There is also a growing demand for anchovies because of their health benefits. The fishing within territorial water (12 nautical miles)is reserved for local. Investment opportunities in Fisheries include deep sea fishing, fisheries infrastructure and related activities, trade of seafood and non-edible seafood products and Aquaculture.
Deep Sea Fishing: Zanzibar and Tanzania mainland share the management of deep sea fishing (fisheries located beyond 12 nautical miles). The management of the Tanzania Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) fishing is under the mandate of the Deep Sea Fishing Authority (DSFA) with its office located at Fumba, Zanzibar. Fisheries statistics from licensed vessels show that there are significant catches in the EEZ. As for the deep sea fishing two good seasons have been reported annually: one from February to May and the other from July to September. The most common fishing methods so far applied are long lining and purse seining. The common species available for Deep sea fishing are emperors, tuna, sword fish, marlin, kingship, sailfish and others.
Fisheries infrastructure and related activities : Investments in capture fisheries and in aquaculture have to be supported by investments in infrastructure. Most of these infrastructure are not available in Zanzibar. The Government has open doors for investment in fisheries infrastructure and related activities such as:
Aqua/Mari culture: The long coastline of the Zanzibar islands offers a good potential for the development of brackish-water fish farming. The large number of bays, lagoons, mangrove forests, freshwater reservoirs formed by dams (especially on Pemba Island), and other small water bodies are good farming environments. Most of these are underutilized due to the lack of proper management, use of inappropriate technologies and inadequate extension efforts. A number of freshwater, brackish water and marine species of fauna and flora are suitable for aquaculture. However, the development of aquaculture needs to be guided by promoting and incorporating the management principles that ensure its sustainability; Investment potential exists for fish, mollusks, cockles, mussels, crabs and sea cucumber,seaweed and oyster farming.
Seaweed farming and Value Addition: The commercial production of seaweed in Zanzibar began in 1989 and now is well established industry, based on two exotic pecies Eucheumacottonii (Kappaphcusalvarezi) and Eucheumaspinosum (Eusheumadenticulatum) that were introduced from the Philippines. The industry has become a widespread economic activity in coastal villages of Unguja and Pemba. It employs large number of coastal people, directly from farming activities. There are about 25,000 farmers mainly women 63% are in Pemba and 37% are in Unguja Island. The cottonii sp. is commercially more important compared to spinosum sp.Globally, million tons of wet seaweed are harvested and extracted to produce large quantity of hydrocolloids and carrageenan. Seaweed is a versatile product which is widely used as food and also as an ingredient in the food and cosmetic/chemical industries.It is also used as a fertilizer and an animal feed additive. Zanzibar is the third largest exporter of sea weed in the world after Philippines and Indonesia but mainly spinosum sp. Local companies are the major buyers of the dried seaweed from small scale farmers and exporting it to Europe (Denmark), USA, Vietnam, South Korea and China in raw form. TheCottoni sp.has low production rate in Zanzibar, only small portion (as flavor) of powder form dried seaweed are used in making some cookies, skin jelly, jam, juice, salads and soaps. As for the seaweed there is great potential for investment in the following:
Marine biotechnology and bioprospecting: Opportunity to use marine living resources for pharmaceutical products and chemical applications for Research and Development (R&D) as well as health care, cosmetic enzyme nutraceutical and other industries
Extraction and use of marine non living resources
Generation of (off-shore) renewable energy: The use of renewable non –exhaustible natural forces such as wind, wave, and tidal energy for power generation is highly encouraged
Transport and trade services
Tourism and recreation services : Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in Zanzibar and has attracted more than 62 per cent of investment projects approved by the Authority. The sector boasts a wide variety of tourism options ranging from the historical and cultural sites of Old Stone Town, to beach and leisure activities. It is a very promising sector with high returns. With more emphasis on eco-tourism, opportunities in coastal tourism include beach hotels/resorts specifically chain hotels, water sports activities, cruise ship, Marinas, marine conservation and other coastal tourism related services.