Article written

  • on 24.03.2010
  • at 01:33 PM
  • by Staff

Guinea: Illegal fishing “worst in the world” 0

BERLIN- Rampant illegal fishing is hitting some of the poorest West African countries the hardest as this practice is globally most rife in the east central Atlantic Ocean area, which covers the territorial waters of some 15 African countries from Morocco and Mauritania in the north to Angola in the south.

Most affected by illegal fishing are Guinea and Sierra Leone while the majority of ships and companies involved in the illegal fishing navigate under flags from countries such as China, Russia, Indonesia, and Panama but also from the European Union (EU) and other industrialised countries, such as Portugal, Italy and Japan.

Illegal fishing occurs mostly in the eastern central Atlantic region and has increased over the last 10 years, according to the European Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), an EU body set up to assist African, Caribbean and Pacific countries with information on development.

In general, the total current losses caused by illegal fishing worldwide are estimated at between nine and 24 billion dollars per year. Most estimates put illegal fishing catches at between 11 and 26 million tons of fish, or between 10 and 22 percent of the total fisheries production.

These estimates do not take into account the environmental damage caused by overfishing which has decimated numerous fish species, from tuna to cod fish.

Developing countries are the most at risk from illegal fishing, “with total estimated (illegal) catches in West Africa being 40 percent higher than reported catches”, according to the London-based consulting firm MRAG, which describes itself as “promoting sustainable utilisation of natural resources through integrated management policies and practices”.

Illegal fishing has been defined as the fishery conducted by national or foreign vessels in waters under the jurisdiction of a sovereign state without the permission of that state’s authorities or in contravention of its laws and regulations.

National jurisdictional waters, known as exclusive economic zones (EEZ), consist of a sea area over which a state has special exploration and exploitation rights.

Illegal fishing can also be conducted by vessels flying the flag of states which have ratified international fishery agreements, but which operate in contravention of the conservation and management measures adopted in such agreements.

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By Julio GodoyIPS

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