Botswana could be losing millions of pula annually due to illegal fishing in its rich waters. This was revealed recently by the ten members Africa Progress Panel chaired by Kofi Annan.
The panel also says a crackdown on illegal fishing by foreign commercial fleets operating in the wealthy oceanic areas of Botswana could lead to major benefits, including job creation. According to the panel, “Africa’s renewable fishery resources are a potential source of wealth and opportunity. Governed wisely, they could support livelihoods, promote food security, generate export earnings and support vital ecological systems.”
Apart from draining the region of revenue, overfishing reduces fish stocks, lowers local catches and harms the marine environment. It destroys communities, who lose opportunities to catch, process and trade fish.
In the Africa Progress Panel 2014 report: Financing Africa’s Green and Blue Revolutions they called on governments to ratify and implement the Port State Measures Agreement. The Port State Measures Agreement is an international treaty to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Thirty countries have adhered to the treaty, which became binding on June 5.
In recent years, the Progress Panel has advocated strongly for sustainable fisheries in Africa and have assisted to raise awareness and mobilise the political and legal action necessary to prevent illegal fishing. The core purpose of the Africa Progress Panel is to contribute and to catalyse initiatives by leaders, organizations and policy makers to develop clear positions on issues critical to the continent’s future.