Lokpobiri decried that “the whole lot of illegal activities going on, where people just come to our waters and after fishing they tranship to another ship…”
Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has expressed displeasure over illegal fishing activities carried out, mostly by foreigners, especially without accountability.
Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who said this recently, in Abuja, disclosed that the ministry has made it a precondition for any fishing vessel owner wishing to license or renew his vessel license to have all the equipment in place.
Lokpobiri decried that “the whole lot of illegal activities going on, where people just come to our waters and after fishing they tranship to another ship, and there is no record of what they have taken from our artisanal waters, is one major challenge we need to take on in Nigeria and the member states of the sub region.
“What we are trying to do is that for any license, any fishing license to be issued or renewed, one of the new policies we have developed with the Nigerian Navy is that you must install the VMS, where from the Naval headquarters and from the regional offices in Calabar, they can see all our ships in the Nigerian waters.”
He further said the government has “also discovered that most of the cases of piracy were faked. Your own crew in your own vessel will create a scenario where they will say oh they have been attacked and all the fish have been taken over. These are some of the issues we are having transhipment in the sea. You invest in a vessel, you send them, you pay them, they go and after fishing, they sell them off in the sea and they claimed that they were robbed.”