The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has sought partnership with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in Nigerian waters.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, made this known in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday signed by Mr Edward Osagie, Assistant Director Public Relations of NIMASA.
Jamoh who sought the support recently at a meeting with the minister described IUU as threats to source of livelihood of legitimate fishing investors.
He also decried exposure of the marine environment to avoidable pollution through such unlawful activities.
Jamoh 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 aims at preventing unlawful commercial activities in Nigeria waters.
According to Jamoh, NIMASA’s eyes are focused on preventing marine pollution which threatens aquatic life and jobs of trawler operators with requisite permits from FARD to embark on commercial fishing.
The DG who also sought closer working relationship with the 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.
Jamoh noted that the partnership became imperative considering the supervisory role being played by the agriculture ministry on 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 quantity, is the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“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,” he said.
He quoted the minister as being ready to work with NIMASA, adding that the ministry had the Department of Fisheries and also the Quarantine Agency.
“We are very much ready, to put together a formidable team that will 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,” he said.
The Deep Blue Project maritime security assets were commissioned by President Buhari earlier in the year.
It affords the nation’s waters to be protected from degradation due to pollution, exploitation and illegal fishing by unlicensed local and foreign operators.
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