WTO rallies Nigeria to curb increasing illegal fishing off the country’s coast.
Fishery is one sector that have immensely bloomed in the world’s agricultural scene. Nigeria, like most West African countries possess riverine waters that contain species of fish that have overtime contributed immensely to the food distribution and economic elevation of the country. Statistically, small-scale fishing practices have contributed an estimated 80 percent of Nigeria’s fishing operations and have improved the livelihood of numerous Nigerians. In fact, small-scale and industrial fishing have both contributed to the overall GDP of 0.84 and 1.09 percent respectively to the country’s economy.
However, there have been recurring cases of illegal fishing processes that have ravaged the system, especially in African countries. Illegal fishing deeply causes the country huge economic loss. Nigeria’s House of Representatives asserted that the country consistently loses over $70 million every year to illegal fishing, which includes license fees lost, as well as taxation and revenues. Other sources claim much more yearly valuation loss and clearly, illegal fishing puts a major strain on Nigeria’s economic growth and generally, the world’s economic development. Reportedly, while some of these perpetrators are Nigerians, others just exploit the waters.
WTO in agreement with different countries to deposit instruments of acceptance.
Recently, the World Trade Organization is ensuring that the global waters is observed, to keep off illegal fishing practices. The organization is in agreement with member countries to deposit instruments of acceptance within the next six to nine months, as a part of the monitoring the waters against illegal fishing activities. The body recently set up a $20 million fund that is aimed at helping to eradicate illegality in the world fishing sector. This fund was established to enable countries, especially developing countries to elevate their facilities and management skills in overseeing their fishery services with the best practices.
The World Trade Organization’s director-general, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala raised this issue to Nigeria’s minister for state of industry, trade and investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, during her visit to Abuja, stating that this decision which is aimed at curbing the problem of illegal and unreported practices in the fishing sector especially in developing countries, was reached at the World Trade Organization’s ministerial meeting that was held in Geneva, Switzerland. Thus, the fund will enable these countries, the capacity to monitor the vessels that operate in their waters.
Oceans risk depletion as 77 percent of fish stocks are products of overfishing.
On the issue of the ratification acceptance, she noted that there was a need for two-thirds of the member-countries to deposit the instrument of acceptance within the next nine months, for the effectiveness of this acceptance. Okonjo-Iweala, commented that the fisheries agreement is the World Trade Organization’s effort to curb the delinquencies that have proven to be immensely harmful to the organization’s sustainability and avoid overfishing. Noting how big a problem this is, she advised that across the world, over 3 billion people depend on fisheries, either directly or indirectly. Thus, there is a need to salvage this issue of illegal practices in the fishing sector, to avoid fish depletion in the oceans.
Per continuance, Okonjo-Iweala further stated that an estimated 77 percent of fish stocks are products of overfishing, a problem that has grown so much in the span of seven years. As at 2015, the rate of overfishing was 35 percent. Studies have however shown that over 50 percent of overfishing is perpetrated in Nigeria and other developing countries, as a result of the inefficiency of the fishery department to survey and monitor the operations on their waters.
Okonjo-Iweala stressed her desire for Nigeria to swiftly submit its instrument.
With this agreement, the trade body is trying to curb countries that abet this illegal fishing practices and with this ratification agreement and depositing of instruments by countries, the perpetrators will be apprehended and punished. She hammered on her desire for Nigeria to swiftly submit its instrument, promising that the World Trade Organization was ever ready to technically assist the fishery department and support its capacity development. Ambassador Mariam Katagum, however declared that the ministry and relevant stakeholders will consider agreeing to the fishery subsidies, as well as how the department can take advantage of the WTO Fish Fund.
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