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18th Apr 13Managed by Chatham House
Financed by DEFRA
Africa urged to speed up control of illegal fishing
Africa stands to lose over N$7.8 billion per year if a commitment made at the recent SADC Marine Ministerial Conference in Windhoek is not implemented immediately, a United Kingdom (UK) fisheries and aquatic resource specialist has warned.
The issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has become a major problem for African fisheries.
The SADC ministers responsible for fisheries have declared a tight regulatory war on illegal fishing.
Fisheries ministers from Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, DRC, Mauritius, and Namibia signed a Statement of Commitment in Windhoek on Friday, with a view of tightening the legal screws and help curb the scourge of illegal fishing.
Signatures to the commitment by Angola and Zambia are still outstanding, as the two countries were not represented at ministerial level.
Such a bold commitment, however, will not secure African fisheries if its resolutions are not implemented with immediate effect, as the continent continues to lose valuable revenue in illegal fishing, Tim Bostock, Head of Fisheries at the UK Department for International Development (DFID) said. It is Africa that stands to gain substantially from immediate and proactive measures to protect its resources, for ever.
The SADC ministers, in their commitment, declared to strengthen monitoring, control and surveillance measures in the region, with a view to setting up Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) in all member countries.
They further envisage the implementation of a progressive ban on transhipment at sea in the region.
With regard to regulatory measures against illegal fishing, Mozambique has made considerable progress. Fisheries authorities in the country have reportedly impounded four foreign vessels in its waters since June last year.
The vessels, most of Asian origin, were found to be fishing illegally within Mozambican territorial waters.
Meanwhile, it was announced at the conference on Friday that Mozambiques Ministry of Fisheries is currently investigating an illegal, unreported and unregulated vessel, fishing in the countrys waters without a licence.
It (the vessel) is allegedly registered to one of the SADC member states, a press statement issued at the conference reads.
Africa is home to the worlds largest fishing industry, with catching alone employing approximately 2.6 million people. Fish is currently the continents leading export, with an annual worth of US$4.3 billion.
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Issues/Governance / management
Issues/Monitoring, control and surveillance
Political processes/Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Africa/Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)