Mozambique: Fishing industry on brink of collapse due to fuel prices

1 August 2008

Maputo, Mozambique, 1 Aug – The director of the Mozambican National Fishing Administration, Ivone Lichucha, said Thursday in Maputo that 51 of the 59 motor-driven fishing vessels registered in the country had given up fishing due to vessel owners’ inability to purchase fuel.

Speaking to news agency Reuters, Lichucha said that the Mozambican fishing industry was on the brink of collapse as fuel, with its constant price rises, had too high an impact on the cost structure and that many vessels were unable to operate.

The fishing industry contributes around 3 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but the most common method of traditional fishing, guarantees the survival of over 100,000 families and food to a large part of the population.

Lichucha said that revenues from the sale of Mozambique’s main fishing product, shrimp, had fallen from US$92 million in 2006 to US$78 million in 2007, which had also happened to the exports of other fish, such as deep water shrimp and others.

These marine species, along with lobster, crab and squid are Mozambique’s main exports to other African countries and Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Lichucha also said that teh goevrnment was negotiating with international cooperartion partners to obtain funds to acquire new vessels for inspecting illegal fishing activities along the 2,500 kilometres of MOzambique’s coast.

The Mozambican authorities recently impounded the “Antillas Reefer”, a ship registered in Namibia, which was carrying 43 tonnes of shark in its hold, along with four tonnes of shark fin, 1.8 tonnes of shark tail, 11.3 tonnes of shark liver and 20 tonnes of shark oil, with a joint value of US$5 million. (macauhub)