THE Gulf Of Guinea Commission has disclosed that West Africa is losing about $2bn annually from illegal fishing.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Amb. Florentina Ukonga made this disclosure on Monday at the Gulf Of Guinea Conference on the maritime sector, held in Lagos.
The Secretary, who announced that this year’s second seminar of the Gulf Of Guinea Commission is entitled “The Blue Economy in the interest of Food Security in the Gulf Of Guinea Region”, said that the largely underdeveloped and poorly governed state of the coastal region is a major drawback.
“While other countries and regions are reaping the benefits and returns from the blue economy, West Africa, for example, is estimated to be losing about $2billion annually from illegal fishing.
“It’s coastal sector remains largely underdeveloped and poorly governed, which has enabled other forces from outside the continent that benefits more from it, than its citizens.
“Approximately, 57 per cent of fish stocks are fully exploited and another 30 per cent is over-exploited, depleted or recovering,” Ambassador Florentina Ukonga stated.
She, however, charged member states to collectively resolve increasing pressures faced by seas and oceans.
The Secretary added that the maritime domain cannot be managed individually because of the inter-connectivity of maritime activities amongst various organizations.
“Our seas and oceans are facing increasing pressures from both within and outside the region and it is in our own interest to deal with these pressures through collective efforts.
“No individual State can effectively and prudently manage its maritime domain. We must collectively, continue to manage the human activities that are negatively affecting our seas and oceans.
“The collaboration and cooperation amongst the States of the region are very important because of the interconnectivity of maritime activities, as generally there is often lack or non-existent of coordination amongst various organizations that are responsible for the seas and oceans in the region,” she added.