Illegal fishing on high seas leaves poor countries floundering

Date: July 19, 2013

Source: Mail & Guardian

Author: Fiona Mcleod

If you defined the ocean’s balance sheet in financial terms, you’d have to say it is slipping ever further into the red, said Trevor Manuel, the minister in the presidency, who is also on the National Planning Commission. We need to show how it can be brought swiftly and efficiently back into the black.

Manuel, who served as South Africa’s finance minister for more than a decade, is now taking stock of the high seas, the internationally managed no man’s land more than 200 nautical miles offshore. On his return from New York last week, where he co-chaired a meeting of the Global Ocean Commission, he pointed out that pirate fishing vessels steal about 25% of the world’s fish resources each year, with an estimated value of up to $23.5-billion.

Sub-Saharan Africa loses about $1.5-billion a year to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in the high seas. It also has an impact on migratory species, reducing catches in coastal zones and affecting the livelihoods of about 10-million Africans who derive an income from fishing,Manuel said.

The commission says the way to tackle the problem is for all vessels on the high seas to carry identification numbers and to be trackable using satellite or other technology.

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Posted on Categories Fisheries