- NIMASA Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh (right), and Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar, during an agreement in Abuja between NIMASA and the ministry against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities in Nigerian waters
By Anthony Nwachukwu
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture have agreed to curb the increasing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in Nigerian waters, which also threaten the livelihood of legitimate investors and the marine environment.
Enlisting this support recently during a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar, NIMASA Director-Genera, Dr. Bashir Jamoh noted that this partnership will equally address the avoidable pollution through such unlawful activities.
Jamoh explained that aside fighting piracy, sea robbery, oil theft and other maritime vices, the Deep Blue project also aims at preventing such unlawful commercial activities like unregulated fishing in our waters, according to a statement by the NIMASA Assistant Director, Public Relations, Osagie Edward.
He assured that NIMASA was 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.
Against these considerations, he also sought closer working relationship with the ministry, while urging the minister to key into the Deep Blue project, considering its array of benefits for agricultural investors in the marine environment.
He explained that the partnership became imperative considering the ministry’s supervisory role in fishing activities, adding: “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.”
On his part, the minister assured: “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.”