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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Dar gets tough on illegal fishing
Tanzania and several other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are stepping up the fight against illegal fishing operations, the Minister for Livestock Development and Fisheries, Mr John Magufuli, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Mr Magufuli told a news conference that Tanzania has on its part formed the Deep Sea Authority (DSA), a corporate body with the power to regulate and control fishing activities in the countrys Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The minister was briefing journalists after coming back from Windhoek, Namibia where he earlier this month attended the SADC Marine Fisheries Ministerial Conference on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.
Mr Magufuli said the formation of DSA was in line with the agreement signed at the conference where the delegates resolved to join hands in combating (IUU) fishing activities. He said apart from establishment of the DSA, he has directed the fisheries department to recall all fishing licenses issued to 69 commercial fishing companies for review and inclusion of new conditions.
He said measures to be taken against IUU fishing include enhanced port inspection schemes and information systems. Through regular inspection and monitoring, he said, the authorities would black-list IUU fishing vessels.
The scale of illegal fishing across Africa is very serious and heavily decimates fish stocks across the continent, he said. Experts say illegal fishing has a negative impact on the economy as it translates into loss of revenue for the legitimate fishermen and associated industries such as the ports, fish processors and fish handlers.
SADC is faced with poaching, an activity that happens when the fish stock of highly migratory species are on the far edge of the sea. It has also been noted that in some countries, fishermen manipulate catch reports and weights to be able to exceed quota limits or misreport species caught.
The conference was attended by delegates from Angola, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Tanzania and Mauritius. Minister Magufuli said the recent detailed quantitative analysis of the problem on a global scale indicate that losses for sub-Saharan Africa total over 7 billion US dollars (about 8.4 trillion/-) per year.
He warned that the scale of illegal fishing could now double the earlier estimates, due to weak international governance that undermine efforts to tackle the problem. The minister said large scale commercial fishing firms from Europe and Asia were responsible for devastation on Africas fish populations.
He said the move will be extended to freshwater lakes, dams and rivers. He said large scale fishing firms use methods that damage coral reefs, sea beds, kill birds, dolphins and other marine creatures.
We want to make fishing industry the economic sector that generates more revenue than others - such as coffee, cocoa, sugar, bananas, rubber and tea combined," he said.
"Fishing contributes significantly to economy in various countries including Namibia, Iceland and New Zealand, but many developing countries are missing out. We can turn round this situation but if governments act now to protect their communities from criminal operators, he stressed.
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Impacts/Development, communities and livelihoods
Impacts/Environment, biodiversity and fish stocks
Issues/Monitoring, control and surveillance
Issues/Port state issues
Political processes/Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Africa/Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)