Stakeholders’ hope rose this week of Nigeria gaining the impetus and will to truly protect its waters against international poachers, as the country signed the Torremolinos Declaration encapsulating the Cape Town Agreement on Safe Fishing, on Monday.
Specifically, the Torremolinos Conference was to promote the ratification of the Cape Town Agreement, which aims to deter the proliferation of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, by establishing international safety standards for fishing vessels.
The 48 countries, including Nigeria which signed the document have therefore, directly and publicly indicate a determination to ensure that the 2012 Cape Town Agreement on fishing vessel safety should enter into force, by the tenth anniversary of its adoption (11 October 2022).
Nigeria, before signing the Declaration
Against the backdrop of soaring waves of illegal fishing in the West and Central African sub region, a development which stakeholders which include Chief Margaret Orakwusi, Chairman, Shipping Forum and fishing trawler guru has fought, the signing consequently becomes truly meaningful.
The Maritime First learnt that Nigeria having signed the instrument has also, not only pledged to promote the Agreement, but also agreed to deploy capacities as flag State, port State and coastal State to act in tandem with the declaration, in carrying out safety inspections of fishing vessels, thereby increasing control and transparency of fishing activities.
Presently, the 48 countries which have so far signed the declaration were: Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Congo (Republic of), Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea (Republic of), Guinea Bissau, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom, Vanuatu. The Declaration is open for further signatures until 21 October 2020.
Organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Government of Spain, Nigerian stakeholders strongly believe that the Torremolinos declaration may have come at no better time than now that, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is getting better re-engineered, the Nigerian Navy is evolving a more inspiring security architecture and the new Minister of State of State, for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki has vowed, not only to prove a point, but also to show that women can do better, what flat footed men are laboring to do!
Unfortunately, a few cynics insist that five Torremolinos declaration cannot save Nigeria from the menace of determined poachers! Who do we believe? Only time will tell!!