MANAGEMENT AND POLICY FRAMEWORKS FOR ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED (IUU) FISHING IN NIGERIAN WATERS
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UNREGULATED (IUU) FISHING
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
West Africa’s waters are endowed with one of the world’s richest concentration of finfish, crustaceans and mollusks (Tobor, 1989). In contrast, its coastal fishing communities are amongst the most impoverished and therefore vulnerable to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing by foreign fishing vessels (FAO, 1995).
The increased efforts of the present administration in Nigeria to drive the development of the fisheries industry which has been taking shape to the applause of many stakeholders, is being plagued with a major challenge of illegal fishing in its territorial waters, which according to a recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) results in an annual loss of over $60 million and has been identified as a major clog in the wheel of the development of the sub-sector. Many marine and coastal ecosystems are close to collapse due to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, also known as Pirate fishing. Global losses from IUU fishing range from $10bn – $23.5billion annually as the harvest from IUU fishing represents almost one-fifth of the entire global catch.
IUU fishing is easy and highly lucrative due to lack of monitoring and enforcement especially in West Africa. These pirates target places called Inshore Exclusive Zones (IEZ) – which were created to protect shallow coastal waters where fishes come to reproduce (FAO, 2001). They target high value species whilst generating a huge amount of unwanted by-catch which is then tossed into the oceans dead or dying. Coastal communities across West Africa are reporting a dramatic decline in the amount of fishes caught (FAO, 2001). As a result, they spend longer time at sea for fewer and smaller fish. This is because the rate of harvest far outstrips that of replenishment.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in its 2015 biennial report to Congress on IUU fishing has identified Nigeria as one of the six nations including Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Mexico in which IUU fishing is very rampant and as such is threatening the current efforts to secure long term sustainable fisheries as well as promote healthier and more robust ecosystems. In a bid to tackle the situation, the United States has declared that if any of the listed nations do not take sufficient action as well as receive a positive certification in the next biennial report, it may prohibit the import of fisheries products from that nation and deny port privileges to their fishing vessels.
In Nigeria, the fisheries resources poached within territorial waters include shrimps, tuna, and sharks, among others. The estimated value of catches exploited by IUU fishing is enormous, up to 30 million US dollars per annum. It is unfortunate that illegal fishing activities, particularly those committed by foreign private fishing vessels, continue unabated and unchallenged due to the lack of an adequate monitoring, control and surveillance structure with regards to both equipment and management systems in the developing West Africa sub-region.
Nigeria with her vast coastlines, is blessed with valuable aquatic resources of commercial interest, particularly in the global market. It would therefore be desirable to undertake a detailed study of IUU activities in order to stop illegal plundering of fisheries resources in the West African Country of Nigeria through proper management and policy framework. It is envisaged that this would contribute to the attainment of sustainable fisheries management in Nigeria and the West Africa sub-region at large.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fisheries are a global phenomenon which require an international, holistic and coordinated approach in order to stem these distasteful activities.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has many facets and motivations, although the most obvious underlying motivations are driven by economic considerations. Other considerations likely to contribute to IUU fishing include the existence of excess fleet capacity, the payment of government subsidies (where they maintain or increase capacity), strong market demand for particular products, weak national fishery administration (including weak reporting systems), poor regional fisheries management, and ineffective monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) including the lack of vessel monitoring systems (VMS). A key consideration in addressing IUU fishing is the need to achieve effective flag State control over the operations of fishing vessels. However, this study will examine the management and policy frameworks for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the prevalence of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters.
- To examine the consequences of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters.
- To examine the management and policy frameworks for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the prevalence of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters?
- What are the consequences of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters?
- What are the management and policy frameworks for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters?
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The outcome of this study will educate the general public on the prevalence, consequences, management and policy frameworks for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters.
- This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover all issues related to the prevalence, consequences, management and policy frameworks for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Nigerian waters.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.