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West Africa seeks partnerships to develop fisheries

The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) has called for more public and private sector investments to generate growth and foster sustainability in the regional fishing industry.

The FCWC was set up in 2007 to manage and regulate the fishing industry and resources of the 6 Gulf of Guinea coastal states of Nigeria, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic.

Addressing delegates at its 10th Annual Ministerial Committee meeting in Abuja early this week, FCWC Secretary-General Seraphin Dedi said public-private sector investments could speed up the development of the aquaculture industry in West Africa.

“If we invest enough resources in the fishery sector, the contribution of the fishing industry to food security, nutrition and development of the sub-region could also improve. Any investment in fisheries will surely impact positively on the people and livelihoods of the region.

“A look at the value chain of the fisheries sub-sector shows that different people are involved in the system. By all investing in the sector, we can help all these people and by extension, facilitate the development of the region,’’ Dedi said.

He said the Gulf of Guinea faces serious problems of illegal fishing by organised crimes syndicates from around the world. Foreign firms are able to fish illegally because West Africa lacks the capacity to monitor its waters and enforce existing laws against illegal fishing and exploitation.

Permanent Secretary in the Nigerian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Bukar Ibrahim said as Chair of the FCWC Council of Ministers, Nigeria would ensure that regional fish resources are protected, well-managed and sustainably used.

He said despite numerous monitoring and enforcement inadequacies, the FCWC has performed well in terms of fisheries management, as well as promotion of the intra-regional fish trade, the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing through fostering cooperation among member states.

“Efforts at harnessing the huge potential of fisheries and aquaculture will no doubt give an added impetus to the realisation of our shared objectives of wealth creation, and food and nutritional development in the Gulf of Guinea,’’ Ibrahim said.

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