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Mozambique avails high-quality fish to the local and export markets. The major sources of Mozambique fish are artisan fishermen situated across the country.
Mozambique fish sector is one of the most essential pillars of the country’s economy. Long coastlines, perfect geographical location and plenty water resources have made Mozambique one of the largest producers of fish in Africa. The country continues to encourage commercial fishery activities with the belief that the sector can come in handy in the country’s quest to elevate the status of its citizens who are currently languishing below the poverty line.
Mozambique produces both marine and freshwater fish varieties.
The nation’s inland waters stretch 13000 square kilometers while the marine waters cover approximately 100 000 square kilometers. The marine waters are coupled with an exclusive commercial zone (EEZ) of 200 nautical miles. Fisheries situated at Hiluane, Beila and the Sofala Bank supply a big chunk of the entire national bulk. Mozambique produces approximately
Marshy grounds and river lines also supply Mozambique fish although in small volumes. The country produces more than 15,000 tons of fish annually which are channeled to the local and export markets. Nonetheless, the government is positive there is more that can be achieved in a sector it considers under-utilized. Illegal fishing is one of the biggest challenges the country is facing in its quest to increase its annual fish production. In a year, Mozambique looses US$60 of revenue to illegal fishing activities. Estimates show the country would double revenue collected from fish consumed locally and outside its borders.
To meet international standards, fish for export is only sourced from artisan fishing farmers. They are usually placed under cooperative societies which is a basic require for one to supply Mozambique fish. Zambezia and Nampula provinces are also major sources of Mozambique fish. They have dense populations and are mainly grounds for artisanal fishers.
Other sources include the North coast, Central coast and southern coast.
Any fishing exercise meant for commercial purposes is undertaken using artisan catching means. The locals, who contribute a sizeable volume to the national fish catch own small canoes and vessels.
On top of that, they catch the fishing using brand new fishnets. They are imported from abroad. Others use traditional-like tools such as baited hooks and also employ gill netting. Traditional tools require a lot of work and often tend to be cumbersome. Nonetheless, a section of fishermen prefer them because they do not compromise the quality of the fish.
Mozambique fish come in different varieties. These include:
- Kelee Shad- This type of fish tolerates relatively low salinities of 7°/00. It feasts mainly on phytoplankton. It also eats mollusc’s, copepods, prawns and crustacean larvaes.
- Tawny nurse shark-It is also a common variety in Madagascar and South Africa. It is large in size and measures between 5-30 m in length. It can swim several meters deep but is often found close to the bottom in lagoons. It feeds on crabs, lobsters, octopus, sea urchins and crustaceans.
- Mozambique Tilapia-The origin of this fish species dates back to East Africa. It’s commonly found in canals, ponds with warm and weedy conditions. Its omnivorous and eats nearly everything. Also does well in hypersaline conditions.
- Common Carp-The fish thrives in lowland rivers and lakes infested with natural vegetation which it usually feeds on. Due its omnivorous nature it also eats snails, insect larvae living underneath the waters and crustaceans.
- Other types of Mozambique fish include silver carp, Nile Tilapia, dorado, kawa kawa, remora, wahoo, barracuda, cuta, yellow fin tuna and yellow swallow tail rock cod.
Meals of Mozambique fish come with essential nutrients. Fish is characterized by low-fat content and very high protein content.
Fish has essential omega-3 fatty acids that enhance the brain and heart health. This attribute of fish also come with other numerous benefits such as decreasing the risk of diabetes, arthritis, dementia and depression. In infants they help enhance vision development in infants and prevent nerves during the pregnancy phase.
Harvesting, packing and transportation
After fish catching Mozambique fish are sorted out. Sorting entails looking at the healthy attributes and the fish species. Large fish differ from the smaller ones.
They are then all gutted, and exercise that helps enhance their shelf life. It is conducted under hygienic and phytosanitary conditions. The fillets are placed in freezer bags under their varying grades. However, when dealing with huge volumes, workers use scales which are different in each fish type for easier identification at the exit point.
Mozambique fish packing is done using an automated system. It sorts, labels and packs fillets- usually in ice bearing wrappers or freezer bags. The cartons containing the packed fish are sealed to prevent cases of contamination.
The labels state packing condition-whole or fillet, type of fish and the packing dates which show expiry dates as well as country of origin. Mozambique fish are stored in dirt free and well maintained conditions. The fish is transported immediately to the airport for airlifting after packing. The special vans have iced conditions that ensure the fish reached the airport as fresh as they were fished. Every cargo reaches clients within one or two days after airlifting.
Mozambique fish are sourced from reliable and verified artisan fishermen. The fish are thoroughly inspected by health officers to ensure they are in top notch conditions. The fact that all fishermen who supply fish for export have all necessary certifications and are closely followed up by their cooperatives have ensured Mozambique fish set aside for export is of the required international standards. The prices are relatively fair and clients are at liberty to bargain. Mozambique fish is availed any client preferred form be it chilled, natural or fresh forms.
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