Africa seeks action against illegal fishing at G7 summit
African presidents, from left, Danny Faure of Seychelles, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Senegal’s Macky Sall at Quebec, Canada on June 8, 2018. Photo| PSCU
London, June 9, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Five African leaders invited to the on-going G7 summit met on Friday, to adopt a common position to push the world’s most industrialised nations to act against illegal sea fishing in African waters.
They will tell the G7 leaders that every one in five fish eaten in a Western capital is likely stolen from African waters.
The leaders, AU chairman and Rwanda President Paul Kagame, Macky Sall of Senegal, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Seychelles’ Danny Faure and Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta will seek support to hold accountable those who fish illegally, with illegal gear and without licence.
Aside the common stand on illegal fishing, African leaders are equally talking on AU reforms and how they fit in with UN reforms.
There are also discussions on solid waste management challenges, and women and girls empowerment.
In the context of G7, women and girls considered as vanguard in protection of oceans. So how they must be empowered is what the President is concerned about,” President Kenyatta’s spokesman said.
Kenya will in November this year host its inaugural Oceans Summit to discuss better and greater exploitation of the seas.
The G7 is a club of the world’s most industrialised nations comprised of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy.
The G7 is this time discussing global challenges such as gender equality, climate change, security and the blue economy (resources from the seas).
On Saturday, President Kenyatta will address the Summit on protecting and preserving the oceans, under the theme “Healthy, Productive and Resilient Oceans and Seas, Coasts and Communities”.
In 2014, President Kenyatta argued that Kenya loses $100 million from illegal fishing in its exclusive economic zone.
Studies done by the University of British Columbia in Canada said China is the foreign country profiting most from African waters by catching at least 3 million tonnes of fish a year.
And while the Chinese may have licences or arrangements with respective countries to fish, there is debate on whether the methods used are sustainable.
“We also need the G7 to publicly acknowledge that protecting the oceans is our shared responsibility,” added Mr Esipisu.
Fish for China
In 2017, the Nation Newsplex found that African waters constitute the largest distant water source of fish to China, more than Asia, where China landed one million tonnes, Oceania (980,000 tonnes), Central and South America (182,000 tonnes) and Antarctica (48,000 tonnes) the same year.
In Kenya, where the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says the Indian Ocean could sustainably provide up to 300,000 tonnes of fish a year, the country only collected just under 10,000 tonnes or a sixth of what Tanzania caught.
Some challenges have been cited in regard to fishing in Kenya.
First, Kenyan fishermen cannot compete with the foreign illegal fishers.
They are also ill-equipped to respond.
A FAO report indicates that in 2014, the year Mr Kenyatta first called for responsible fishing, more than half of the 3,000 recorded Kenyan vessels were dugout canoes or dhows.
That year, the government had allocated $4 million for the development of deep sea fishing as well as surveillance against illegal fishing.
The programme has not yet taken off.
Additional report from TheEastAfrican