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Southern Africa
Agriculture - Nutrition | Economy - Development

SADC battling with illegal fisheries

afrol News, 26 June - Sub Saharan Africa has been battling to control illegal fishing, which heavily impacts on poor southern states economy and environment. For countries whose economy base is on fisheries, they are left frustrated by scourge of illegal fishing, a SADC statement has said.

To take a bull by its horns, Southern Africa would convene a Ministerial conference on Fisheries in Windhoek, Namibia from 2 to 4 July 2008 to address the problem and also to source new approaches to combat illegal fisheries.

Despite governments' efforts over decades to strengthen controls on fisheries and its trading to halt illegal fishing and better manage resources, the practice never ceases, noted SADC statement.

Although the region is still far from having successful campaigns to curb illegal fishing, there are notable strides and commitments by governments and individual players to combat illegal fishing activities.

The fisheries ministers cooperating which began in 2002, has opened door for counties to have strengthened national systems for monitoring, control and surveillance on vessels, including establishment of joint management of monitoring mechanisms.

SADC countries went a step further in launching "No to Illegal Fishing " campaign which began its operation in 2007. Throughout its existence, it has held two regional workshops, one in cooperation with Indian Ocean countries that were interested in problems linked to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The campaign further seek to improve understanding and knowledge about the state of play and the potential impacts of illegal fishing and impacts of pavilions and ports under standards of the SADC region.

Though the campaign was well received, there are still areas of government commitment needed to support monitoring structures put in place to control a problem, noted the statement.

Trading of fish caught illegally should not only end after detaining those in possession with fish, but also those selling should be punished, is one of the tough messages in the campaign. Under the campaign, governments are also urged train fisherman to understand interest of the country in fishery and to promote sustainable methods.

As incessant illegal fishing continues, the only way out for African states is undivided attention and commitment and concerted efforts from other member states, concluded SADC statement.

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