Making knowledge work: Learning about Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management in the Netherlands

- From OKP grantee Jonas Festo Nyandwi

The Netherlands welcomes international students from across the globe. In 2020, more than 800 international students started their study at the University of Wageningen & Research (WUR). A small number of them (27) received a full-scholarship through the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP). Jonas Festo Nyandwi, from Tanzania, is one of eight students from Tanzania who received a full-scholarship to study in the Netherlands. With the knowledge gained during the course in Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management he will work on sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in Tanzania.

Jonas Festo Nyandwi inspecting fish for sale in the Geita region

Jonas Festo Nyandwi, has more than six years’ experience, working as a fisheries officer at the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries. Jonas has experience working in different regions of Tanzania, like the Fisheries Resources Protection Centre in Geita region and the Mara region. Working in Mara region was a very special experience because of the natural beauty of that region. Lake Victoria is together with Lake Tanganyika one of the most important lakes from a fishery point of view, accounting for about 94% of the total inland fish production of Tanzania. According to the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation, Lake Victoria is even the most productive freshwater fishery in Africa. The sector provides direct employment for a lot of people in the community. Directly to the fishermen and indirectly to the boat builders, fish processors, net and engine repairers. My work gave me a day-to-day exposure to the challenges and problems the sector is currently facing (such as over-exploitation, illegal fishing methods) and it was at times challenging because we were dealing with peoples’ interests. Our main duty is to conserve fisheries resources by protecting fish, fishery products, aquatic flora and their environment against unlawful dealers through the enforcement of the Tanzanian Fisheries act and Regulations. Apart from fisheries and aquaculture activities, Mara region is blessed with other beautiful tourist attractions such as different Islands in which different human activities are conducted and the most important one “The Serengeti National Park” which to me is one of the best national parks in the world.

Why did you apply for the OKP program and this specific course?

I applied for a Master on Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, because it contains a lot of skills and knowledge that will help me to realise my long-time dream of becoming a fisheries researcher and marine environmental conservation specialist. I want to contribute to more sustainable solutions for the fishing sector in Tanzania. I opted for this specific course as I believe it will help me to learn more about aquaculture, marine resources and ecology and marine governance. I am very motivated to contribute to Tanzania’s development especially within the fisheries and aquaculture sectors where I am working. These sectors employ a lot of people in my country and therefore we have to make sure these activities are conducted in a sustainable manner.

Jonas Festo Nyandwi learning more about conservation practices

What are your first impressions?

I arrived about four weeks ago and spent most of time so far in self-quarantine so I have not yet seen a lot of Wageningen. My first impressions are positive. I like the weather so far and the Dutch people. The courses are very practical, much more than what I am used to in my previous levels of education, the most challenging part of my studies is studying online instead of attending lectures in class due to COVID-19. All in all, people of the Netherlands are very good in conservation practices, for example last week during our study excursion we visited the Haringvliet where the government and other stakeholders are implementing the restoration project (restoring the ecosystem functioning of the delta). I hope to learn much on this aspect and many others when visiting other different places.

Which growth possibilities do you see for the aquaculture sector in Tanzania?

The Aquaculture sector in Tanzania is growing fast and I expect that in the coming years, the speed of growth will increase even more as, the number of knowledgeable experts is increasing every day. There are plenty of opportunities for fish farming in our beloved country, we have a very long coastline along the Indian Ocean, lakes and rivers and other sources of water, so water is not a problem. I see opportunities at potential sites that meet the criteria for earthen ponds fish farming projects.

Why do you feel it is important to share knowledge?

I believe that sharing knowledge is essential to create change. In the case of the fisheries sector in Tanzania this is a very important aspect if we really want our sector to move forward. We can do this by conducting trainings, seminars and workshops to impart skills and awareness to other fisheries officers, the fishing communities and fish farmers.

Which possibilities do you see for the sector in Tanzania to become more sustainable?

In order for the sector to become more sustainable, we have to educate fishers and fish farmers about sustainable ways of fishing as well as fish farming management (eg. Good ponds/cages and Recirculating Aquaculture Systems). For example, on how to reduce effluents which may cause eutrophication in our water bodies and using fish nets with the required mesh size, so that the immature fish won’t be harvested.

The OKP program is financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by NUFFIC. The programs objective is to contribute to a society’s sustainable and inclusive development by strengthening the skills and knowledge of both individuals, groups of individuals and organisations. Click here if you would like to know more about the OKP program

For more information about the aquaculture sector or any other agricultural feel free to contact us via For the latest updates on activities, new articles and more follow us on twitter at @NLAgiTanzania and you can subscribe to our newsletter by sending us an email. For any other questions for the Netherlands Embassy in Dar es Salaam, this website links to the general contact information.