Aquaculture production in Tanzania has increased in recent years, responding to an increased demand for fish, but the scale and productivity of smallholder aquaculture remains below the level needed to support significant sector growth in Tanzania. This study assesses, through geospatial analyses, the
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Aquaculture production in Tanzania has increased in recent years, responding to an increased demand for fish, but the scale and productivity of smallholder aquaculture remains below the level needed to support significant sector growth in Tanzania. This study assesses, through geospatial analyses, the suitability for freshwater pond farming of Oreochromis niloticus
and Clarias gariepinus
in Tanzania, by assessing the geographical distribution of seven criteria (water availability, water temperature, soil texture, terrain slope, availability of farm inputs, potential farm-gate sales, and access to local markets) identified as important for fish pond farming. The criteria were developed and standardized from 15 sub-criteria, which were classified into a four-level suitability scale based on physical scores. The individual weights of the different criteria in the overall GIS suitability assessment were determined through a multi-criteria evaluation. The final results were validated and compared through field observations, interviews with 89 rural and 11 urban aquaculture farmers, and a questionnaire survey with 16 regional fisheries officers. Our results indicate that there is a good potential for aquaculture in Tanzania. Almost 60% of Tanzania is assessed as being suitable and 40% as moderately suitable for small-scale subsistence pond farming, which is the dominating fish farming practice currently. The corresponding figures for medium-scale commercial farming, which many regions expect to be the dominating farming method within ten-years, were 52% and 47% respectively. The availability of water was the most limiting factor for fish pond farming, which was confirmed by both farmers and regional fisheries officers, and assessed as being “suitable” in only 28% of the country. The availability of farm-gate sales and local markets were “moderate suitable” to “suitable” and were seen as a constraint for commercial farms in rural areas. The availability of farm inputs (agriculture waste and manure) was overall good (26% very suitable and 32% suitable), but high-quality fish feed was seen as a constraint to aquaculture development, both by farmers and regional fisheries officers. Soil, terrain, and water temperature conditions were assessed as good, especially at low altitudes and in regions close to the sea and south of Lake Victoria.