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7 African Countries Get Together On Battling IUU Fishing

Seven African countries are joining forces to battle IUU fishing off the eastern coast of the continent, particularly surrounding the Horn of Africa. The taskforce for sustainable fisheries will collaborate to focus on stopping the dozens of unlicensed fishing vessels that enter African waters daily, catching tuna, shrimp, sardines and mackerel.
According to recent studies, this unlawful activity is costing Africa in the region of USD 1 billion every year. A statement from the Inter-Governmental Authority On Development (IGAD) said that the impact of IUU fishing cannot be underestimated. Many countries struggle to keep unlicensed vessels from their waters.

A vessel license is the requirement of a variety of national and international agreements in order for fleets to adhere to fishing quotas and to keep away from protected marine areas.

The IGAD statement added: “IUU fishing occurs in all parts of our waters, even within areas under our national jurisdiction; this situation poses a direct and significant threat to effective conservation and management of our natural fish stocks, causing multiple adverse consequences for fisheries and for our citizens who depend on them in the pursuit of their legitimate livelihoods.”

IGAD further explained that all delegates at the recent IGAD meeting were extremely concerned that the management objectives of the Horn of Africa fishery had become frustrated by external influences. It said: “A continuation of IUU fishing could lead to the collapse of a fishery and/or seriously impair efforts to rebuild depleted fish stocks.”

During the meeting, the seven country strong coalition was formed to focus on tackling the raised concerns. The statement from the meeting concluded: “A series of action points were raised with the main action being the formation of a task force which would focus on developing a Sustainable Fisheries Management Strategy for the Horn of Africa.”