Windhoek- The SADC Secretariat has advised Namibia during its tenure as regional chair to engage other member states that are not yet signatory to SADC Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordinating Treaty to come on board in order to address illegal fishing and harvesting of marine resources in the regional waters.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is widely is a major scourge which is becoming more and more widespread in the area, leading to an unsustainable harvest of fish stocks and other marine wildlife, destruction of habitats, loss of fish for future harvest, loss of nutrition, and loss of income and employment for legitimate fishers, according to the Secretariat.
The Director of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources at SADC Secretariat Domingos Gove has said an estimated of amount of $500 million in revenue is lost annually due to illegal fishing and harvesting of marine resources in the regional waters, which negatively affect livelihoods of the people who depend on fishing.
He blamed the scourge on lack of monitoring control and surveillance capacity and capabilities. Gove told media on the margin of the ongoing 38th SADC Summit that although ministers responsible for environment and natural resources, fisheries and aquaculture, and tourism have establishment of SADC Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordinating Centre based in Maputo Mozambique in 2010.
However, only six member states have signed the SADC Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordinating Charter. These are Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania, while other countries have pronounced their commitment to signing in due course.
“According to SADC procedures any charter have to be signed by two-third of the member states in order to became a regal document and We would like to encourage the leadership of Namibia to engage in this process and to drive the process by joining the signing of the charter in order for the region to have regal backup to be able to fight against illegal fishing” Gove said.
By pooling information, coordinating actions and undertaking investigations, the center aim to spearheaded a string of enforcement actions and increased compliance in the fisheries sector.
Once it became operational , the charter will guide the establishment of a Task Force to “identify and examine, having regard to any global initiative, and further actions and measures that could be undertaken at the regional level to intensify the fight against illegal fishing.