Illegal fishing in Mozambique leads to annual losses of US$35 million

3 May 2010

Maputo, Mozambique, 3 May – Mozambique annually loses US$35 million due to illegal fishing in its territorial waters, said the country’s Fisheries Minister, Victor Borges, cited by Mozambican newspaper Notícias.

“There are no exact figures, but we estimate annual losses to be between US30 and US$35 million due to illegal fishing,” Borges said, adding that the government was developing activities with a view to gradually reducing those losses.

Borges, who was speaking at the 4th Annual Meeting with Cooperation Partners from the Fishing Sector, said that the measures consisted of creating, in the short term, an inter-ministerial commission to supervise fishing, which would create mechanisms for territorial waters to be patrolled.

Currently the patrol of the 2,470 kilometres of Mozambique’s coastline is carried out by just three vessels, and fishing officials and inspectors across the country.

Borges said that the main challenge for the sector was to increase its contribution to Mozambique’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to the minister, this contribution currently stands at 2 percent, a level that reflects reduced catches due to several factors, including the low levels of exploration of some marine species, particularly prawns.

Due to a combination of factors, fish exports in Mozambique are witnessing successive drops, with exports over the last five years totalling just US$377 million, or an average of US$75.4 million per year.

Last year Mozambique produced over 160,000 tons of fish, as compared to an annual estimated requirement of over 400,000 tons, representing a deficit of around 240,000 tons. (macauhub)