To combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian seas, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has sought cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
Dr Bashir Jamoh, the Director-General of NIMASA, who recently enlisted the additional support of the Minister of Agriculture, Dr Mahmood Abubakar, described IUU as a threat to legitimate fishing investors’ sources of livelihood while also decrying the exposure of the marine environment to avoidable pollution as a result of such unlawful activities.
Apart from combating piracy, sea robbery, oil theft, and other maritime vices, Jamoh said that the Deep Blue project, which has President Muhammadu Buhari’s full support, also intends to prevent illegal commercial operations such as uncontrolled fishing in our waters.
According to the DG, NIMASA is particularly concerned about maritime pollution, which poses a threat to aquatic life and the livelihoods of trawler operators who have obtained the necessary licences from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to engage in commercial fishing.
The DG, who also wished to establish a closer working relationship with the agricultural ministry, asked the minister to invest in the Deep Blue project, citing the wide range of benefits it offers to agricultural investors in the marine environment.
According to Jamoh, the alliance became necessary due to the Agric ministry’s supervisory involvement in fishing activities. “We have been experiencing illegal fishing in our waters and the ministry assigned with the responsibility of issuing certificates of approval to conduct fishing especially in commercial quantities is the Ministry of Agriculture.”
“We resolved to collaborate, cooperate, coordinate and communicate with each other in terms of the legality and illegality of fishing in our own waters by the international community and the minister assured us of support
Expressing readiness to work with NIMASA, the Minister of Agriculture said “We have the Department of Fisheries and also the Quarantine Agency. We are very much ready to put together a formidable team that would work with the Deep Blue project and we have the capacity of experienced staff that can participate and bring additional push to the project.
“We are aware of some of the issues concerning illegal fishing and already the ministry and department officials are doing something about that. I can assure the DG that we will get that put together soon,” Abubakar said.
The Deep Blue initiative, whose maritime security assets were commissioned earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari, is meant to defend the nation’s seas from pollution, exploitation, and illegal fishing by unlicensed local and foreign operators.