The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) is seeking the collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to check illegal fishing activities on Nigerian waters.
The Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who disclosed this during a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar, said illegal fishing is a threat to the livelihood of legitimate fishing investors.
A statement signed by the Assistant Director, Public Relations, NIMASA, Osagie Edward, quoted Dr. Jamoh as saying that aside from fighting piracy, sea robbery, oil theft and other maritime vices, the Deep Blue project which enjoys the full support of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, (retd), was aimed at preventing unlawful commercial activities like unregulated fishing on Nigerian waters.
The statement read in part: “The agency is focused on preventing marine pollution which threatens aquatic life and jobs of trawler operators who have permits from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to embark on commercial fishing.
“We have been experiencing illegal fishing in our waters and the ministry assigned with the responsibility of issuing certificates of approval to conduct fishing especially in commercial quantities, is the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We resolved to collaborate, cooperate, coordinate and communicate with each other in terms of the legality and illegality of fishing in our own waters by the international community and the minister assured us of support.”
For his part, the Minister said his ministry was willing to partner NIMASA with regards to the Deep Blue Project. “We have the Department of Fisheries and also the quarantine agency. We are very much ready to put together a formidable team that would work with the Deep Blue project and we have the capacity of experienced staff that can participate and bring additional push to the project.
“We are aware of some of the issues concerning illegal fishing and already the ministry and department officials are doing something about that. I can assure the DG that we will get that put together soon.” Abubakar said.