Growing Blue and the value of ports for sustainable fishing

By Stop Illegal Fishing:2nd Dec, 2021: Event Coverage · Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing

Mozambique has a coastline that extends for 2,700 kilometres and contains vital ecosystems such as mangrove forests which play a critical role in preventing coastal erosion and providing a habitat that acts as a nursery for many marine species. Over sixty per cent of the country’s population live in coastal areas, and many of these rely on the ocean for their livelihood.

For this reason, Mozambique’s government is drawing up a national strategy for the development of the blue economy, which is due to be completed in December 2021. This will cover fishing and aquaculture, the extractive industries, the hydrocarbon sector, and tourism, and will cover the country’s objectives up until 2030. It will also provide the framework for the regional integrated plan for maritime security.

The threat posed by illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a critical factor in any thinking on the blue economy. With annual economic losses to IUU fishing in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region conservatively estimated to represent USD 10 billion.

The financial losses reflect a small element of the impacts inflicted by IUU. Livelihoods and food security are lost, governance is undermined, the marine ecosystem is damaged and maritime security is harmed.

The ports in the region play a critical role in checking on who is operating at sea and knowing what they are doing there.

For IUU fishing ports provide the last real chance to identify illegally caught fish and the opportunity to stop them being landed and entering the supply chain.

In 2014 Mozambique ratified the Food and Agriculture Organization Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA), which came into force in 2016. As a member of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) Mozambique is also bound to implement Resolution 10/11 on port State measures (PSMs) for tuna and tuna like species.

Mozambique is working to implement port State measures in all three of its ports (Beira, Maputo and Nacala), and they have been designated under PSMA as able to receive foreign flagged fishing vessels

With support from the Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing initiative, Mozambique is actively using its ports to:

  • Refuse access to known or suspected IUU fishing vessels.
  • Identify high-risk vessels for inspection or investigation.
  • Work across agencies to identify, sanction and stop illegal operators
  • Establish systems and procedures that reduce therisk of corruption.
  • Increase compliance in the industrial sector tosupport a sustainable artisanal sector.
  • Improve maritime security.

Participants at the Growing Blue International Conference, a hybrid event, held in Vilankulo, Mozambique on 18-19 November 2021, brought together over 1,500 participants under the theme, ‘Investing in Ocean’s Health is Securing Planet’s Future’.

Speaking during the event Elsa Patria, Stop Illegal Fishing Chairperson, stated, “Ports provide a critical control point for fisheries and for all activity at sea. The countries of the Western Indian Ocean have shown strong commitment to ending illegal fishing and this has been demonstrated by the high number of countries from our region who are now parties to the PSMA. Our next big challenge is in implementing our PSMA commitments fully and well. To do this we need to share information, work with our neighbours and use all the technology and tools available to us.”

 

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One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

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