Published 8 July 2008


Southern African states move to eradicate “pirate” fishing

Cape Town, 11th July 2008—TRAFFIC and WWF applaud a significant move by southern African states to eradicate illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) “pirate” fishing in their waters.

Southern African states have announced tough new measures against vessels IUU fishing in their waters. © Jo Benn / WWF-Canon 

Fisheries Ministers from eight coastal member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting in Namibia last week agreed to set up a task force to stamp out IUU fishing in their waters and implement a plan which will prevent IUU fish, frequently caught by distant water fleets, from being landed at regional ports.

IUU fishing is estimated to rob Africa of USD1 billion a year, threatening livelihoods, fish stocks and economies of developing coastal states, and making it extremely difficult to manage fisheries resources. 

The SADC Fisheries Ministers adopted a Statement of Commitment that includes the development of nationally and regionally tailored port State measures and the implementation of a progressive ban on transshipment of fish at sea—actions against IUU fishing that are way ahead of current international legislation.

The plan also includes the launch of a regional monitoring centre, the commitment to develop improved trade-related measures and enhance traceability and stricter control by SADC coastal states of vessels flying their flags.

The IUU accord was signed in Namibia by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique and Tanzania, with Angola intending to sign later.

By June 2009, a regional action plan is to be finalised and review of progress on implementation of the Statement of Commitment is set for the end of 2011. All of the countries are encouraged to develop their own national action plans to combat IUU, Namibia being the first SADC member which has completed a plan.

The agreement last week comes shortly after recent developments in the US and EU on tackling IUU fishing.