Illegal, unregulated fishing deny W/Africa of $2 bn annually

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West Africa loses at least $2 billion annually to unreported, unregulated and illegal fishing.
Amb. Florentina Adenike Ukonga, Executive Secretary, Gulf of Guinea (GoG) Commission stated this on Monday at the Second GoG Annual Conference convened in Lagos by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Citing the World Bank as she spoke on the theme “The Blue Economy in the Interest of Food Security in the Gulf of Guinea Region,” Ukonga said that global illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is estimated at 11-26 million tonnes of fish ($10-22 billion) annually, with West Africa alone accounting for $2 billion.
She said that the situation was the case because while other countries and regions were already reaping the gains from the blue economy, “the region’s coastal sector remains largely underdeveloped and poorly governed, which has enabled other forces from outside the continent to benefit more from it.”
According to Ukonga, with about 71 per cent of the earth covered by water, “there is no food security without a sustainable ocean,” and with increasing pressure on the region’s seas and oceans from within and outside, collective efforts are required to deal with these pressures, as no state can effectively and prudently manage its maritime domain.
Ukonga said it had become necessary and urgent for member-states to properly harness, develop, grow and control the region’s marine resources for food security and economic growth, considering the continent’s increasing population and the dwindling hydrocarbon revenue.
She called for collaborative efforts between concerned countries and their maritime administrators to develop both “artisanal fishing for maintaining self and family, and commercial fishing for other goods and services that may be needed.”
Addressing the gathering earlier, the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that over the years, Nigeria had played lead role in regional maritime protection.
Peterside, who was represented by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration in NIMASA, Mr. Bashir Jamo, stated that as the commission’s first segment of the seminar on blue economy in Nigeria, the conference would expose what constitutes the concept, its potentials as a goldmine, constraints and the way forward.
He urged African nations to look inwards, research and tap the enormous resources in its coastlines, adding that though many countries in the continent had recently started exploiting hydrocarbon resources, the fortunes therein were already being hampered by competition and the recent developments in technology.