Wednesday, October 21, 2020

International fishing treaty not applicable to Botswana ÔÇô Khama

Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama says Botswana is not ready to sign any international treaties that discourage illegal fishing by some wealthy people in the country.

Botswana government is not ready to sign some international treaties which help protect illegal fishing in Botswana. Last week some countries signed the new international Treaty which specifically helps countries to deal with wealthy people who participate in illegally fishing.

Africa not an exception, ten members of the Africa Progress Panel chaired by Kofi Annan recently encourage countries like Botswana to sign for The Port State Measures Agreement which is an international treaty meant to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism rejected Kofi Annan’s call for Botswana to sign for The Port State Measures Agreement which is an international treaty meant to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU)fishing. “As far as I am aware, Botswana is a landlocked country and the Agreement they are talking about is not relevant to our country and with that we cannot ratify it on this basis  because we do not have a sea port,” said Tshekedi Khama

Khama said Botswana is not importing fish directly in sizeable amounts to over sea countries which would need Botswana to have a binding Agreement like the Port State Measures Agreement. 

Botswana could be losing millions of pula annually due to illegal fishing in its rich waters. 

The panel also says a crackdown on illegal fishing by foreign commercial fleets operating in the wealthy oceanic areas of Africa could lead to major benefits, including job creation. According to the panel, “Africa’s renewable fishery resources are a potential source of wealth and opportunity. Governed wisely, they could support livelihoods, promote food security, generate export earnings and support vital ecological systems.”

The panel further observed that more than half of all fish exports come from developing countries, underscoring the importance in terms of revenue of sustainable management practices.

The panel said, apart from draining the region of revenue, overfishing reduces fish stocks, lowers local catches and harms the marine environment. It destroys communities, who lose opportunities to catch, process and trade fish.

The Port State Measures Agreement is an international treaty to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Thirty countries have adhered to the treaty, which became binding on June 5 this year.

When quoted by international media last week, during the celebration of the first ever launch of the treaty, FAO Director-General Jos├® Graziano da Silva said The Port State Measures Agreement “marks the dawn of a new era in the effort to combat illegal fishing” but rapid action is needed to make sure its implementation is effective.

“For Africa, fish are as strategic as maize. Overfishing puts sustainable food security at risk,” said President Alpha Cond├® of the Republic of Guinea who has strongly championed the importance of fisheries to African nations.

He pledged to campaign across the continent in favour of the treaty and in defense of local fishing communities.

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