Feb. 28 - A record shortage of prawns and a nation-wide seasonal ban on commercial prawn trade activities has seen Mozambique's reputation as a major fish exporter suffer. It is now looking to other activities to continue its economic growth. Simon Holmes reports.
It used to be one of the world's largest exporters of Prawns. But Mozambique's small scale fishermen are struggling to stay afloat. Less than two years ago they were pulling in 12,000 tonnes of prawns. That figure has dropped significantly in the last twelve months. Local trader, Christina Julius Mabuza, has experienced the change first-hand. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) CHRISITNA JULIUS MABUZA, PRAWN TRADERS SAYING: "We don't get prawns like we used to. Now there are a lot of fishermen, they work with big machines and when they go fishing they don't catch anything". Illegal fishing and a growing population of invasive species are part of the problem. Prawn season has now been closed since November and won't start again until March. The country is now concentrating on gas and coal reserves. Economic growth, according to the International Monetary Fund, could reach 8.3% this year up from 7% in the last. Mozambique is not the only African country experiencing a decline in its fishing industry. Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa are also reporting similar losses.