The Government of Tanzania intends to develop a Marine Spatial Plan to guide all economic activities within the Indian Ocean in order to reap greater benefits from a more sustainable blue economy.
The Marine Spatial Plan will encompass all activities in the ocean, including fishing (small scale and deep sea), aquaculture and marine products, seaweed farming, construction of strategic infrastructure for ports and sea transport, seafood and fish processing, oil and gas extraction, and beach tourism and water sports.
According to the Permanent Secretary, Vice President's Office, Ms. Mary Maganga, the plan will deliver more benefits from the ocean to communities and the nation through sustainable practices while strengthening the blue economy.
To set the foundation for the plan, a pre-feasibility study has been concluded. Commissioned by The Nature Conservancy and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the study reviewed the current status of marine spatial planning in the country and the state of policy, legal and administrative frameworks. It proposes a roadmap for developing the plan.
Speaking at a workshop in Dar-es-Salaam to validate the pre-feasibility study, Ms. Maganga said: "The marine spatial planning is part of the solution to bring about the sustainable use of our ocean resources and open economic and employment opportunities based on proper management of the environment and dealing with climate change".
The two-day workshop brought together ocean users, government officials, development partners, as well as local and international NGOs.
The Nature Conservancy's Tanzania Country Director, Ms. Lucy Magembe told the workshop that 25 marine spatial plans have been implemented worldwide and have proven to be a practical approach for engaging communities, stakeholders, and governments to expand marine protection, meet conservation goals, and improve sustainability of both economic and non-commercial activities.
"We are working closely with the Government of Tanzania and other partners to manage human activities in the ocean to ensure they are sustainable. The Marine Spatial Plan will ensure that communities around the ocean benefit from it, while protecting the environment," added Ms. Magembe.
The pre-feasibility study was funded by the German Government's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety through the International Climate Initiative, as part of a five-year (2021-2025) regional project entitled 'Strengthening the Blue Economy of the WIO through the integration of ecosystem services and effective biodiversity conservation' covering Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles, and Mauritius.