Maputo — Illegal fishing is costing the Mozambican economy at least 60 million US dollars a year, according to the Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane.
Speaking in Maputo on Wednesday, at the opening of a meeting of his Ministry's Coordinating Council, Mondlane said this situation poses major challenges for strengthening inspection activities along the Mozambican coast.
Work was needed, he said, to seek innovative and coordinated solutions at national, regional and international level, to end the illegal practices that are corroding the country's economy.
SADC (Southern African Development Community) is setting up a Regional Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) centre in the outlying Maputo neighbourhood of Katembe. Work on building the centre is due to begin next year, "and this will be an extremely important gain on this front", said Mondlane.
"But before this happens, we have to be creative and find bolder ways so that surveillance can be really effective, and so that the struggle against illegal fishing can be won", he said.
Mondlane also called for tighter control on the inspection of fisheries produce, both for domestic consumption and for export.
"We must continue to fight vigorously against the practices of under-declaring catches, the amount exported, and the values of sales abroad", he insisted. "For this, we must design and put into practice an efficient control and monitoring system".
The meeting is being held under the motto: "Mozambique, encouraging the sustainable exploitation of the sea and its resources".