Illegal fishing in Nigeria

Laura Bates
Wednesday 2 June 2021

The scale and costs of illegal fishing are enormous and difficult to calculate. Recently, the Nigerian House of Representatives expressed concerns over the $70 million lost annually to illegal fishing. In comparison, other sources place this figure at anywhere between $600 million and $800 million annually. The cost of illegal fishing is further amplified by broader accompanying fisheries crime, which undermines fisherfolk livelihoods and contributes to increasing criminality across Nigeria’s coastal communities.

Dr Okafor-Yarwood and Dr van den Berg, of the School of Geography and Sustainable Development highlight how persistent government neglect for fisheries agencies and outdated regulations allows illegal fishing and fisheries crime to flourish. Marginal budgetary allocations to Nigeria’s Federal Fisheries Department makes it unable to monitor fishing vessel activities or function effectively – they simply don’t have the resources needed to operate. Existing fisheries regulations are outdated and ill-equipped to address the current scale and severity of growing fisheries crime.

Holistic and collaborative solutions are needed to stem the tides of illegal fishing and other crime at sea. Dr Okafor-Yarwood and Dr van den Berg stress the need for increased funding for the Federal Department of Fisheries, updating fisheries regulations and a national maritime security strategy.

Please see the full article in The Conversation, ‘How illegal fishing harms Nigeria and what to do about it’, by Dr Okafor-Yarwood and Dr van den Berg, which sheds further light on the human security and economic costs of illegal fishing in Nigeria or listen to the podcast on The Conversation Weekly.

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