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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Southern Africa: SADC seeks solutions to illegal fishing
Windhoek - With southern Africa facing an increasing threat from fish pirates, Namibia this week hosted a three-day SADC Marine Fisheries Ministerial Conference that discussed ways of curbing illegal fishing in the region.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Wednesday this week, Sandy Davies of the Stop Illegal Fishing Programme, said: "Africa is losing billions of dollars to illegal fishing, and there is a number of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) issues affecting southern Africa that include poaching, especially when the fish stocks, such as highly migratory species, are on the far edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone."
Davies cited cases whereby fish-catch figures and weights have been manipulated in order to be able to exceed quota limits.
She said, "Fishing in restricted areas and during closed seasons, use of dynamite and poison in artisanal and small scale fisheries within closed and protected areas near the shoreline are also on the increase." There were 65 Use of Flag Of Non Compliance (FONC) fishing vessels confirmed within three SADC countries between 2006 and 2007, and about 70 FONC IUU vessels operating in the region at any one time dominated by five to six open-registry flag states.
Even though systematic information is limited, IUU fishing is a major problem in SADC. Davies said: "IUU fishing continues having a negative impacts on the Economic creating a loss of revenue through the loss of port fees, fish handling/processing, fuel sales and long term economic loss due to stock depletion."
Member states had a closed-door session on 3 July, and their findings were expected to be handed to the ministers from the seven SADC coastal countries this Friday. The conference aimed at tackling the following areas: improving national fisheries monitoring control and surveillance capabilities and capacities, regional collaboration, cooperation and communication, engaging all stakeholders in the chain of custody and strengthening fisheries governance.
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Impacts/Development, communities and livelihoods
Issues/Chain of custody / Supply chain management
Issues/Flag state issues
Issues/Governance / management
Political processes/Southern African Development Community (SADC)