$10 billion is Lost Annually to Illegal Fishing, Says Amechi

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi

Ugo Aliogo

The Minister for Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amechi, has revealed that US$10 billion is lost annually to illegal fishing, stating that dumping of toxic waste and indiscriminate use of plastics is hindering the growth of Nigeria’s maritime economy.

The minister disclosed this recently at the Pre-#NES26 event with the theme “Investment Opportunities in Nigeria’s Blue Economy” organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) and the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Environment.

He noted that the ministry would liaise with the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) by using the African Union’s (AU) recommendations to aid the stimulus of Nigeria’s blue economy.

Amechi, who was represented at the event by a Director in the Ministry of Transportation, Dr. Paul Adaliku, said the COVID-19 pandemic has created a sense of urgency for new growth and the blue economy represents a beacon of hope to Nigeria.

According to the minister, “The partnership with the NESG through the Public-Private Partnership model will ensure no one is left behind in galvanizing Nigeria’s Blue Economy and that the government is working with NIMASA to set a framework of how all stakeholders can work together seamlessly.”

In welcome remarks, the Vice-chairman of the NESG, Mr. Niyi Yusuf explained that Nigeria is desirous to join the maritime world and gain from the blue economy and that the Nigerian maritime sector is capable of generating as much as 7 trillion Naira annually and 4 million jobs in the next five years if properly harnessed.

Yusuf added: “We are not on track to harness the benefits of the blue economy and this is a good time to share ideas and resources to establish a unified approach towards the development of the country’s blue economy.”

In his presentation, the Chief Executive Officer, AO Blue Economy and Consulting Agency, Mr. Adekola Oyenuga, remarked that in addition to fishing, shipping and other ocean related activities contribute about 70 percent of Norway’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He revealed that Norway makes use of an integrated ocean management (IOM) approach that helps the Ocean provide multiple benefits to humans with adequate sustenance of aquatic life and environment.

He disclosed that the problems of the ocean space are inter-related and should be considered as a whole; “and that proper coordination at national, regional and international levels can help develop Nigeria’s blue economy.”

The Executive Secretary UN Environment, Mr. Abou Bamba, further stated that the blue economy presents a lot of opportunities for Nigeria and West Africa especially in fishing, aquaculture, shipping and port related activities, “and that countries can only have control of the blue economy when they control the tools for transportation of goods and services.”

He added that following the blue economy model, West African countries can solve the problems of traffic jams and unemployment by utilizing the lagoon system and unskilled jobs through beach and ocean line cleaning respectively.