AFRICA: June 5, voices raised against illegal and unregulated fishing

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AFRIQUE : 5 juin, des voix s’élèvent contre la pêche illicite et non réglementée©Tara Lambourne/Shutterstock

Alongside World Environment Day (WED), the international community is also celebrating the 6th International Day for the Elimination of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing on 5 June 2023. Many actors, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and the African Marine Mammal Conservation Organization (AMMCO), are drawing attention to the consequences of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 5 June the International Day for the Elimination of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. This was at its seventy-second session in November 2017. The date of 5 June (which is also the date chosen for the celebration of World Environment Day, WED), refers to the day on which the Agreement on Port State Measures officially entered into force as an international treaty, which is the first legally binding international instrument specifically dedicated to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The aim of this day is to draw attention to the threats posed by IUU fishing activities to the sustainable use of fisheries resources, and to highlight the efforts underway to combat these activities.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), IUU fishing is responsible for the annual catch of between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish, depriving the world economy of between 10 and 23 billion dollars. To alleviate this problem and restore available fish stocks, goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Agenda (SDO), adopted in 2015 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, encourages the international community to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

AMMCO and EJF step up to the plate

To move from words to action, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is organising a workshop from 7 to 10 June 2023 in Kribi, a coastal town in Cameroon’s southern region, to raise journalists’ awareness of the consequences of IUU fishing. “This training for journalists will contribute to the transparency of fishing in Cameroon. It will support the 2020-2030 national development strategy in the fisheries sector by giving journalists the tools they need to disseminate relevant information”, explains Steve Trent, CEO and founder of EJF.

Read also- CAMEROON: Journalists to learn about sustainable fishing

This activity is associated with “Street Whale 2023”, organised by the African Marine Mammal Conservation Organisation (AMMCO). “Now in its third year, Street Whale 2023 is an event that combines art and science to raise awareness of the need to protect our oceans, whose biodiversity is suffering from a host of anthropogenic pressures. Among these pressures, IUU fishing is the most impacting, yet very few of our citizens and even authorities are aware of the extent of this scourge. This is why the training of journalists on IUU fishing comes at just the right time, as they will now be equipped to enlighten our decision-makers and the Cameroonian public, not only on the impact of IUU fishing, but also on the measures to be taken for transparency and sustainable management of this resource”, explains Aristide Kamla, President of AMMCO.

Boris Ngounou

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