July 10, 2008

Namibia: Regional Body Vows to Close Ports to All Illegal Fishing Vessels

Text of report by Namibian news agency Nampa website

[Unidentified Reporter: "Ministers Committed To Stop Illegal Fishing in SADC"]

WINDHOEK, 9 July: Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers responsible for Marine Fisheries vowed to close their ports to all illegal vessels as part of their commitment to stop illegal fishing in the region.

A statement of commitment to get tough on illegal fishing was signed in Windhoek last week by the Ministers after a week-long Ministers' conference on illegal fishing in the SADC region.

The Ministers committed themselves to urgently prohibit access to any SADC vessel listed as perpetrating illegal activities within any of the regional fisheries' management organizations in charge of the management of shared resources.

They also vowed to fully control the movement of fishing vessels, including support vessels, in the entire marine area under the jurisdiction of the SADC member states that is up to 200 nautical miles from the coastlines in both Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

The Ministers also agreed to impose a total ban on trans- shipment at sea of fish and sea products, and resolved to develop harmonized and very deterring sanctions against offenders at regional level.

They will also reinforce controls by the member states on the activities of the vessels flying their flags, according to the statement.

Ministers have furthermore recognized the need for the region to unite and act, with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing acknowledged to take more than US$ 1 billion (approximately N.dollars 7.6 billion) of fish from the waters of Sub-Saharan Africa each year, and the growth of global concern over environmental and human impacts.

Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Tanzania and Mauritius were represented during the conference.

Originally published by Nampa news agency website, Windhoek, in English 9 Jul 08.

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