Safeguarding Tanzania's Coral Reefs: The Case of Illegal Blast Fishing

Tanzania is the only country in Africa where blast fishing, (fishing with explosives), still occurs on a large scale. Besides killing and injuring fish, these blasts cause irreversible damage to coral reefs, destroying the habitats of many reef species, shattering the natural barriers that protect Tanzania’s coastline from erosion and storm surges, and threatening the country’s reputation as an important marine tourism destination. This destructive fishing practice must urgently be halted, both to prevent the considerable socio-economic repercussions for coastal communities and to protect the integrity of vital and endangered ecosystems. Blast fishing encompasses opportunistic and organised crime, thus requiring an urgent multi-stakeholder response from all sectors of the government, business, coastal communities and regional marine-governing authorities.