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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Coastal aquaculture in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Charisiadou, Stefania; Halling, Christina; Jiddawi, Narriman; von Schreeb, Kristina; Gullstrom, Martin; Larsson, Terese; Nordlund, Lina Mtwana


This study provides an overview of the multi-sectoral coastal aquaculture development in Zanzibar (Tanzania) over the last thirty years based on empirical evidence from interviews, field observations, policy reports and literature reviews. Despite the immense potential of aquaculture for food and livelihoods, only seaweed farming has so far established into commercial-scale production. This activity is dominated by women and became widespread in the early 1990s as a small but regular source of income. However, seaweed farming constraints such as frequent seaweed die-offs, as well as economic and institutional constraints inhibit its development. Other types of aquaculture activities such as fish farming, mud crab fattening, half-pearl farming, sea cucumber farming and sponge and coral cultures are under development with limited production or in experimental stages. Common constraints among these activities are economic limitations, lack of technical infrastructure and skills, small and irregular production, and limited trade and market availabilities. At the same time, there is a lack of sufficient management and monitoring systems, while there are no formal regulations or clear strategies to boost aquaculture at the national level. In addition, new aquaculture initiatives are often dominated by donor-driven projects instead of local entrepreneurships. This situation does not encourage engagement in aquaculture and thus such activities are outcompeted by other already established sectors (e.g. agriculture and fisheries). We conclude that aquaculture has great potential to evolve due to high environmental capacity. Nevertheless, achieving profitable production and a stronger commitment within local communities, as well as developing effective mariculture governance through support mechanisms and clear strategies to boost the sector at the national level, are essential for sustainable mariculture development in Zanzibar.


Mariculture governance; Seaweed farming; Fish farming; Pearl farming; Sea cucumber cultures; Crab fattening; Western Indian Ocean

Published in

2022, Volume: 546, article number: 737331
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 Zero hunger
    SDG14 Life below water

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

    Publication identifier


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