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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Namibia: concerns over SEAFO ratification delays
The Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Kilus Nguvauva, has expressed concern over the lack of progress in the ratification of the South East Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) Convention by signatories.
SEAFO is an international fisheries management organisation with its headquarters in Walvis Bay and deals with conservation and management of fish resources in the high seas.
The 2001 Convention was signed by Angola, the European Community, Iceland, Namibia, Norway, Republic of Korea, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States.
However, only Namibia, Angola, South Africa, and United Kingdom have ratified the convention and five ratifications are still outstanding from prospective signatories.
"Implementing the convention would require participation of all signatories and all states with real interests in the fisheries managed by SEAFO need to accede to the convention," he said.
Despite the slow process in ratification, Nguvauva said the commission has adopted several conservation and management measures aimed at protecting vulnerable deep-water habitats.
Others measures aimed at reducing incidental by-catch of seabirds and the protection of sharks and sea turtles have been adopted.
Nguvauva made these remarks on Monday during the 4th Annual Meeting of the Commission. The meeting that ends tomorrow will deliberate on recommendations made by the Scientific Committee on rehabilitation for fisheries management.
The Scientific Committee has worked on the topography, oceanographic limits, main species biology, statistics on fleets and catches, and the impact of fishing activities on the ecosystem.
At the same occasion, Angolan Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Victoria de Barros Neto, said world initiatives concerning conservation and long-term sustainable exploration of living marine resources and relevant ecosystems cannot be ignored.
She added that there is a growing concern on over-exploitation and depletion of the main fishing resources hence the need to adopt measures for rehabilitation.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has been the subject of several controversies in the fishing world and according to Neto, there should be cooperation among coastal countries. This is crucial as many illegal vessels transit from high seas into other ports and vice-versa.
"I am of the opinion that no effort should be spared to stop and eliminate this type of activity that, besides the economical losses to the interested parties, jeopardises the effort of rehabilitation of stocks in critical situation," she added.
Although Angola is not fishing in SEAFO area, it ratified the convention on conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources.
Neto told member states that her country has inserted in the new fishing legislation the principles defended by the international community. These principles include sustainable development, responsible fishing, and conservation and optimum use of aquatic biological resources among others.
Although there are relatively small fishing activities in the convention area, Neto said contracting parties should agree on sharing the fishing quotas among themselves for the benefit of all.
SEAFO was established by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in mid 1990s. The convention area is approximately 16 million square kilometres from the Equator to Southern Ocean near the Antarctica.
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