Countries in West Africa are losing an average annual revenue of $2bn to theft of maritime resources and illegal fishing, according to the Gulf of Guinea Commission.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Florentina Ukonga, stated this on Monday in Lagos in her opening remarks at the GoG conference on the maritime sector.
Ukonga, who stated that this year’s second seminar of the GoG was entitled: ‘The Blue Economy in the interest of Food Security in the Gulf Of Guinea Region’, said the underdeveloped and poorly governed state of the coastal region was a major drawback in Africa’s efforts to maximise the gains of the blue economy.
She said, “While other countries and regions are reaping the benefits and returns from the blue economy, West Africa, for example, is estimated to be losing about $2bn annually from illegal fishing.
“Its coastal sector remains largely underdeveloped and poorly governed, which has enabled other forces from outside the continent to benefit more from it than its citizens.
“Approximately, 57 per cent of fish stocks are fully exploited and another 30 per cent is over-exploited, depleted or recovering.”
According to her, the maritime domain cannot be managed individually because of the inter-connectivity of maritime activities among various organisations, adding, “Our seas and oceans are facing increasing pressures from both within and outside the region, and it is in our own interest to deal with these pressures through collective efforts.
“No individual state can effectively and prudently manage its maritime domain. We must collectively, continue to manage the human activities that are negatively affecting our seas and oceans.”