Author: Nicki Holmyard
One in four fish in Africa is still caught illegally, despite the efforts of many African nations to overcome the problem.
According to the organization Stop Illegal Fishing, an independent non-profit based in Africa dedicated to ending illegal fishing in the continent’s waters, ongoing efforts are being made by the majority of African maritime states to end illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, but greater momentum is needed if the “New Frontier of African Renaissance” – hailed by the African Union earlier this year – is to come to fruition.
IUU fishing is threatening the sustainability of fish stocks, damaging the ecosystem, depriving governments of income, and African people of their livelihoods, according to Peter Thomson, United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean. And the scourge of IUU is affecting a majority of African nations; 38 of the 54 African countries have coastal borders and many inland countries have vast lakes, which are also affected by illegal fishing and poor fishing practices.
The issue of IUU in Africa has been well-studied, and numerous solutions have been proposed. A report in 2016 by the Overseas Development Institute and Spanish research and journalism group PorCausa used satellite tracking to monitor the methods and scale of the problem, pointing out that transhipments, lack of inspection of containerized shipments, inadequate legal frameworks, poor technology, and a lack of political will were all partly to blame. The report estimated that by developing and protecting Africa’s fisheries, around USD 3 billion (EUR 2.6 billion) could be generated in additional revenue and some 300,000 jobs created.