Mozambique: The African combat against illegal fishing is judged to be progressing positively
This past April, Mozambican Fisheries Minister Victor Borges spoke in Maputo about the Mozambican combat against IUU-Fishery (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishery). According to Borges two third of the Mozambican population actually lives along the 2780 kilometres of coastline. In these regions fishing is of overriding importance for local communities. Furthermore Borges mentioned:
We need ever greater cooperation to win the battle against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
Mozambican officials seem to be willing to combat illegal fishing off their coastline.
A few months earlier the project manager of ACP FISH II (the fisheries program for Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, financed by the EU) Leone Tarabusi announced that the European Union will be funding certain studies on the illegal fishing off the African coastlines through the Ninth European Development Fund. This survey basically contains research on the necessary resources and requirements for the centre. The further plan for the future is to establish a research and monitor centre in Mozambique which will mainly deal with IUU-Fishery. After the set up of such a centre it is going to be up to the countries which are interested in this institution to continue financing it. These countries are principally members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). According to a report from AllAfrica.com Tarabusi said in Maputo:
Illegal fishing is a major problem and the SADC countries have joined together to fight against it. They have decided to set up a centre to monitor illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing that will be based here in Mozambique.
From the 12th -14th September 2011 the SADC IUU Task Force met in Maputo, Mozambique. The aim of this meeting was to discuss the mentioned SADC Regional Monitoring Control and Surveillance (MCS) Coordination Centre in Mozambique. 2008 and 2010 members of the SADC first passed the SADC Statement of Commitment to combat IUU Fishing and secondly passed the SADC Action Plan on IUU Fishing. In these two papers the SADC is calling for (1) a Regional Task Force on IUU and (2) an already mentioned Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Coordination Centre. In May 2011 an appropriate proposal for a start-up project center had been approved by SADC ministers.
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These last developments make people feel optimistic when it comes to the fight against IUU-Fishery particularly off African coastlines. The signs SADC members gave with their meeting show that they are mainly willing to join combating the illegal looting of fish in their territorial waters. The set up of a Regional MCS Coordination Centre is an active beginning of a future fight not only within the waters of SADC members but all African territorial waters.