Prof. Mgaya is a Tanzanian national born in 1957. He studied at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (B.Sc., 1986), the University of British Columbia, Canada (M.Sc., 1989) and the University College Galway, Ireland (Ph.D., 1995).
His career has all along been at the University of Dar es Salaam, where he was first employed as a Tutorial Assistant in 1986 and rose through the ranks to become a full Professor in 2006.
Over the years, Prof. Mgaya has gained wide administrative experience at the University. Recent achievements in his career include his appointment as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Science (2000-2002), the Dean of a new faculty of Aquatic Sciences and Technology (2003-2006). In December 2006, he was promoted to become the Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Planning, Finance and Administration (DVC-PFA).
His experience has earned him key positions in various national Boards and Committees such as: Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Tanzania’s Marine Parks and Reserves Unit (2004 – present), Chairman of the Advisory Board of Mbegani Fisheries Development Centre (2003 – present) and Member of the Board of Directors of Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (2003- present). Prof. Mgaya has been a member of the Editorial Board of WIOMSA’s scientific journal - the WIOJMS since 2002, and a member of the Symposium Scientific Committee.
Prof. Mgaya has conducted various researches relating to aquatic resources, particularly in the areas of biology, ecology and management and produced results which have been published extensively. Some of the specific researches he has been involved with include studies on the effect of fishing on growth and reproduction of the Blackspot snapper on reefs of Mafia Island and investigations into habitat utilization by fish and the structure of the mangrove food web. Between 1992 and 2007 he published as a single author and co-author some 33 papers in peer reviewed journals and 23 papers in edited/reviewed conference proceedings. He has also co-authored 3 books. He has been involved in a number of consultancies focusing on environmental impact assessment, project evaluation and strategic planning.
His contribution to capacity building and the development of coastal and marine research in Tanzania and WIO include supervision and mentoring of students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level. He has also been the external examiner for Moi University based in Eldoret, Kenya. Prof. Mgaya has supervised and examined some 17 undergraduate dissertations. He has successfully supervised 13 M.Sc. and 7 PhDs and he is currently supervising an additional 3 M.Sc. and 7 Ph.D. candidates.
Prof. Mgaya has taught a number of courses in the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at the University of Dar es Salaam. Currently, due to the heavy administrative tasks that he undertakes as DVC, his teaching load has been reduced to a single third year course - Aquaculture Genetics.