DAR ES SALAAM, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- At least 198 foreigners have been arrested in connection with illegal fishing in Lake Tanganyika since Tanzanian authorities launched a massive crackdown on illegal fishing in the lake, an official said on Thursday.
Emmanuel Maganga, Kigoma regional commissioner, said in an interview with Xinhua that 284 Tanzanians were also arrested and 11,529 illegal fishing nets were seized during the ongoing crackdown that was launched in November last year.
He said authorities were making arrangements to prosecute the suspects in courts, adding that apart from illegal fishing, the suspects will also be charged with catching undersized fish.
Maganga said the impounded fishing nets included beach seine, drift nets, monofilaments and fishing solar lights.
Launching the crackdown in November last year, Luhaga Mpina, the Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, said the crackdown should go in tandem with the arrest of local government officials and fisheries officers who protected syndicates of people involved in illegal fishing.
"The government's position is to make sure that illegal fishing is put to an end not only in Lake Tanganyika but also in all lakes in this country," said Mpina.
The minister said illegal fishing resulted in depletion of fish stocks in the country's lakes, forcing Tanzania to spend more money to import fish.
In March last year, Tanzanian President John Magufuli supported ongoing crackdown on illegal fishing in Lake Victoria that was aimed at replenishing fish stocks in the lake.
Magufuli's remarks came a week after the Council of Ministers of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization approved scaling up anti-illegal fishing operations in the lake.