LILONGWE, Malawi, June 07, 2021 (AEJ) - Malawi last Friday signed the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) charter for establishment of a Regional Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC) on fisheries resources to be based in Maputo, Mozambique.
The center is expected to put on the radar Illegal Unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities impacting on efforts by international community to achieve sustainable fishing.
Malawi’s Minister of Forestry and Natural Resources Nancy Tembo who presided over the signing ceremony explained that strong awareness is paramount to contain IUU impacts in the region and beyond.
“We must draw the attention of the public to the negative impacts of IUU fishing activities, an activity in which SADC region has been actively engaged. As Malawi, we are rolling out vessel monitoring systems as part of addressing the IUU issues,” Tembo announced during the event that was also broadcasted live on social media platforms to the world.
Tembo who has been instrumental in drumming support for conservation projects added that Malawi is joining SADC region to commemorate the International Day for the fight against IUU fishing.
“We are doing so by signing the charter for the establishment of MCSCC which is being operationalized in Maputo, Mozambique. The center will coordinate regional fisheries monitoring control and surveillance activities including those supporting sustainable management of fisheries resources to combat IUU fishing,” she told local and regional participants at the BICC in Lilongwe.
In a world of growing population and persistent hunger, fish resources have emerged as an important commodity for achievement of food security, employment, recreation, trade and economic well-being for millions globally. The Food and Agriculture Organization describes IUU fishing activities as being responsible for the loss of 11-26 million tonnes of fish annually. This has an economic value of $10-23 billion.
To abate the situation, UN General Assembly specially urged the international community to, effectively regulate harvesting and end over fishing and destructive fishing practices by the year 2020.
A SADC report titled, “Working together to protect our fisheries” currently available in infographic format was also launched by her during the event. SADC secretariat Fisheries Technical Advisor Motseki Hlatshwayo observed that the signing of this charter is a demonstration of commitment by government of Malawi towards strengthening cooperation and capacity to stop IUU fishing and to build regional sustainable blue growth.
“We have now moved closer to realizing the aspirations of the region as contained in the 2008 statement of commitment to combat IUU fishing by SADC ministers of fisheries,” explained Hlatshwayo.
The SADC representative further commended Malawi for continuing domesticating instruments like the regional aquaculture strategy and action plan and aquatic animal health strategy through the GIZ funded SADC strengthening national regional linkages to ensure domestication and effective implementation at country and local levels.
The Malawi Minister combined IUU and World Environment Day activities to spread the same gospel on taking good care of the environment including its resources.
“By bringing degraded ecosystems back to life, let’s go and clean our river banks and lakeshores, let us restock our waters and continue to promote fish sanctuaries and reserves. Let us give nature space to recover as this will increase benefits for our societies and biodiversity in general,” Tembo who has turned into an environment champion advised. Participants at the event were reminded about the theme for this year’s World Environment Day which is ecosystem restoration. Coincidentally, the UN has declared 2021 - 2030 as a decade on ecosystem restoration.