By Okezie Nnadi
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has sought partnership with Federal Ministry of Agriculture to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in Nigerian waters.
Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh who enlisted the additional support recently at a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar, described IUU as threats to source of livelihood of legitimate fishing investors also decried exposure of the marine environment to avoidable pollution through such unlawful activities.
The DG, explained that aside fighting piracy, sea robbery, oil theft and other maritime vices, the Deep Blue project which enjoys full support of President Muhammadu Buhari also aims at preventing unlawful commercial activities like unregulated fishing in our waters.
Jamoh stated that NIMASA’s eyes are also focused on preventing marine pollution which threatens aquatic life and jobs of trawler operators who have the requisite permits from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to embark on commercial fishing.
The DG, who also sought closer working relationship with the agricultural ministry, urged the minister to key into the Deep Blue project considering the array of benefits it holds for agricultural investors in the marine environment.
He informed that the partnership became imperative considering the supervisory role being played by the Agric ministry on fishing activities. While explaining that “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 quantity, 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.
While 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”, the minister said
Under the Deep Blue project, whose maritime security assets were commissioned by President Buhari earlier in the year, the nation’s waters are expected to be protected from degradation due to pollution, exploitation and illegal fishing by unlicensed local and foreign operators.