Maputo — Mozambique is losing at least 60 million US dollars a year because of illegal fishing, according to the Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane.
Speaking in Maputo on Tuesday at the opening of the seventh meeting of Fish-i Africa, a partnership of eight east African countries, Mondlane said the scale of economic losses "raises great challenges for us in monitoring our immense maritime waters".
He declared that unity between African counties bordering the Indian Ocean would be one of the most effective ways of fighting illegal and unreported fishing.
"We should take on individual and collective responsibility for defending the noble interests of our peoples and nations", he said, warning that illegal fishing corrodes the economy, and holds back the development, not only of Mozambique, but of the region and of the continent.
Mondlane welcomed the election of Mozambique as the host country for the Regional Fishing Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Centre of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The Centre will be installed in the Maputo urban district of Katembe, and Mondlane declared its purpose is "to do away with illicit activity in the region".
The Minister stressed it is crucial that governments and development partners should cooperate and work together to exploit maritime resources sustainably, promoting the development of a robust and prosperous regional economy.