Abidjan, Aug 30, (AIP) - The President of the Conference of Ministers on Fisheries Cooperation between African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean (COMHAFAT), the Minister of Animal Resources and Fisheries of Côte d'Ivoire, Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani says illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains the most serious threat to the sustainability of fisheries resources.
Opening the 10th conference of the organization in Abidjan, Minister Adjoumani called for increased cooperation to find solutions to the scourge.
He said the conservation of fishery resources and the fight against IUU fishing were part of the ATLAFCO Convention and that initiatives taken at the state, regional and continental levels had so far been slow to produce the desired effects.
"According to some studies, these practices represent an annual shortfall of nearly US$50 billion, a significant loss of growth opportunities and solutions to poverty for our countries," he said.
In the area of the COMHAFAT which has more than 450 million inhabitants, explained Mr Adjoumani, the fishing sector can represent up to 18 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 25 to 30 per cent of export earnings.
“It employs more than seven million people and is a major source of food for the local population, while providing sustainable livelihoods for important coastal communities", the minister said.
Minister Adjoumani stressed that fishing was a strategic sector for development and the fight against poverty.
“It contributes significantly to food security and job creation while promoting the entry of foreign currency.”