Damage caused to Nigeria by illegal fishing and countermeasures
Like most countries in West Africa, Nigeria’s coastal waters are home to a wide variety of fish species. Contribute to the food and economic security of populations..
Contributions to the overall GDP of fishing (small and industrial) 0.84% in 2019, 1.09% in 2020..
Therefore, the fishing sector is the pathway for the socio-economic development of Nigeria. But they also face threats.
One of them Environmental pollution, Mainly from the petroleum industry. Pollution deteriorates the marine environment, destroys fish stocks and reduces catches.
The first step is to understand the scale and complexity of illegal fishing and the crimes associated with it, and why it occurs.
Scale and cost
Recently, the Nigerian House of Representatives Okay The country loses $ 70 million a year due to illegal fishing. This includes the loss of license fees, taxable income and the possible value of legitimate fishing by local vessels.
The variability of these figures indicates that it is difficult to calculate the cost of covert activities. It is also the result of the budgetary negligence of the Nigerian Fisheries Federation. This department does not have the capacity to monitor, investigate and manage vessels operating in Nigeria.
Despite various estimates, all sources agree that the economic losses caused by illegal fishing in Nigeria are high. But the numbers alone can give a superficial picture of the true cost of illegal fishing. Illegal fishing does not happen by itself.
Fishing crime is vast and diverse Category Illegal and criminal nature that supports or accompanies illegal fishing. These crimes include corruption, customs fraud, human trafficking, drug trafficking and piracy. Illegal fishing and fishing offenses are also a threat. human rights..
our Previous search It turns out that illegal fishing is eroding people’s lives. Lack of government support to tackle illegal fishing and protect livelihoods within the fishing community pushes people further into poverty. Crime network..
Fishermen can end Take part inAs a result, they are victims of fishing offenses. Proven Crime is increasing throughout the Nigerian coastal community due to an increasing number of pirates and armed thieves.
Marine anxiety also has a gender aspect. Women in West African fisheries They face unique challenges and risks, including limited access to capital, increased competition for access to depleted fish stocks and the elimination of policies.
Ignore and bad regulation
The government is ignoring this area, even though the fishing industry contributes significantly to the livelihoods of Nigerians. this is, Marginal budget allocation The sector receives annually.
The monitoring, management and surveillance departments of the Nigeria Federation Fisheries Department are important in the management of Nigeria’s fisheries. Budget allocation This has been done over the past 15 years.
Due to the shortage of patrol vessels in the surveillance, control and surveillance departments, it is not possible to track the activity of vessels operating in Nigeria. Announced plan I decided to buy a patrol boat, but I haven’t done so yet.
This sector has not received sufficient funds to operate effectively. The Nigerian Department of Fisheries operates within the country’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 2% From the national budget for 2019.
Existing fishing regulations are also inadequate. Nigerian fishing Marine Fisheries Act, 1992These regulations are outdated and inadequate to deal with the current scale and increase in fishing crimes.
For example, in June 2020, the ship Hai Lu Feng 11 was fined. million million3000000 (Less than $ 7,300) If you turn off the Vessel Monitoring System during your stay Nigeria Exclusive Economic Zone..
Is Vessel monitoring system It is designed to provide near real time estimates of fishing activity. Disabling the system suggests that it intends to avoid detection by authorities. But given that illegal fishing spends millions of dollars on the Nigerian economy every year, this fine is negligible.
Illegal fishing solution
To solve the problem of illegal fishing in Nigeria, we must help the Federal Department of Fisheries to work effectively. It must be well funded as an institution imposed to ensure the sustainable development of Nigerian fisheries.
Current fishing regulations also need to be updated to reflect the current reality and impact of fishing related crime.
A holistic and collaborative approach is essential to tackle fishing-related crime. A national ocean security strategy is needed to guide and promote inter-ministerial and regional cooperation. The strategy should include the establishment of an information sharing platform.
Nigerian Navy Capture of Pirates Targeting Sea Route 11 Supported Through Gulf of Guinea West Coast Fisheries CommissionThis was done through a regional online communication platform established under: West Africa Working Group..
This shows the importance of cooperation between fisheries agencies and other maritime law enforcement agencies to stop the tide of illegal fishing and other crimes at sea.
Author: Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood-Lecturer, University of St Andrews | Sayra van den Berg Bhagwandas-Postdoctoral Fellow, University of St Andrews