The Rufiji river is about 600 km long, with its source in southwestern Tanzania and its mouth on the Indian Ocean at a point facing Mafia Island in the Mafia Channel. The Rufiji Delta is about 200 km south of Dar es Salaam. The delta contains the largest mangrove forest in eastern Africa Rufiji delta, it is the home to approximately 53,000 acres of mangrove forests. This is the largest continuous stretch of such forest across East Africa. The delta also houses about 41,000 people, most of whom are small farmers and fisherfolk. The mangrove forests provide protection from hurricanes, preserve quality of life, sustains many species of land and water flora and fauna, and is also the direct source of livelihood of the 41,000 people. In 1997, the Tanzanian government sanctioned the proposal by the African Fishing Company (AFC) to set up an enormous 19,000 hectare shrimp aquaculture site, which would consist of hatchery, processing plant, and a feed mill. The site of this commercial venture was within the Mafia Island Marine Park, and would be replacing a part of the 'mangrove forest reserve'. The business was alleged to produce US $500 million a year in export profits from the supposedly 6210kg of shrimps per hectare per year, mainly from Europe and Japan.