Hon Yakubu Dogara: “Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing leads to an annual loss of over $1.3 billion in West Africa”


It has been confirmed that Fisheries in the West African Marine Ecoregion (WAMER) generate about US$400 million annually, making them the single most important source of foreign exchange in the region and a key source of revenue for economic and social development. On a contrary, the amount generated through this source has been slashed as a result of illegal and unauthorise fishing in West Africa region.

Recently, the Speaker of the House of Representatives (Nigeria), Hon Yakubu Dogara, stated that Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing leads to an annual loss of over $1.3 billion in West Africa alone.

He stated in an annual conference of the Association of African Maritime Administrators in Abuja:
“Statistics has it that Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing leads to a loss of over $1.3 billion in West Africa alone, yearly. We must tighten the legal and regulatory framework to stop these losses. We must intensify efforts to promote intra- African trade in fisheries as statistics also show that Pan-African fish trade is worth about 20 billion euros. This will help to sustain African economies in the long term.”

“We as a parliament have been at the forefront of legislation on maritime issues in the past and are currently, actively involved in processing legislations in the maritime sector. The House of Representatives of Nigeria only last week passed the National Transport Commission Bill which it is hoped would have a huge impact on the maritime sector especially with respect to economic regulation of activities of operators and agencies in our maritime sector.” he further stated.

He further urged that National Assembly to speed up legislative action to the proposed Bill for an Act to provide for the Suppression of Piracy and other unlawful Acts at Sea (and other related offences).

In addition, he explained that the bill is already in transition to become law.
“The bill is in the court of the Executive at the the moment and we await its transmission as an Executive Bill for legislative processing into law. The Executive should also use the opportunity to transmit other IMO Conventions and Protocols that have been acceded to by Nigeria, for domestication by the National Assembly.”

He also explained that West African countries’ economy can be boosted through the exploration and exploitation of Africa’s vast ocean resources, while noting that sadly, developing countries have not benefitted from the potentials the resources the seas have to offer while developed countries have achieved a lot from the sector.

“Developed countries have done a better job of exploiting these resources. We in Africa need to do much more to use these God given resources to feed our people, fight poverty and develop efficient ports and effectively administer the waters of the Seas. We can create high paying jobs for our teeming youths, develop an efficient transportation system, exploit efficiently the oil and gas resources and other minerals contained in the deep seas and oceans of Africa. Nigeria is potentially a major maritime power considering the depth and breadth of our Exclusive Economic Zone and Territorial waters, and can do even more to efficiently and effectively make sustainable use of the Oceans and Seas.”

Dogara explained that fisheries is very important in all countries as it provides for economic growth:

“Fisheries and aquaculture provide jobs for millions of people including our women and youths, as a maritime nation, Nigeria has a responsibility together with other nations and international organisations, like the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), to make our waters safe and secure.”

It has been confirmed that the fisheries sector in West Africa will no doubt provide very high revenue for West African countries if the right things are strategically put in place.

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