Maputo — The administration of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (PNAB), Mozambique's largest marine conservation area, has recorded a significant reduction in illegal fishing cases, by nearly half, in 2020 compared with the previous year.
Between 2019 and 2020, illegal fishing in the archipelago, lying between the districts of Inhassoro and Vilankulo in the southern province of Inhambane, fell by 47.5 per cent. There were 85 recorded cases in 2020, against 162 in 2019.
Tomas Chibale, head of PNAB Protection and Inspection, said the reduction comes as result of the placement of signaling buoys, which clearly delimit the conservation area.
"The inspection activity has been jointly steered by the Vilankulo naval patrol, the park's inspectors and the maritime and inland water police. The team ensures day and night protection of the conservation area," Chibale said. He said that the inspectors, besides seizing the fishing gear from those fishing illegally, try to raise their awareness about the need to ensure the continuity of marine wild life species, for future generations.
He said that criminal, administrative and disciplinary proceedings were taken against the men involved in illegal fishing activities in the park.
"Some of the individuals are under police questioning. Some are in police custody and others are awaiting their trials in freedom while still others have already been fined for their offenses," he said.
After the tightening of the inspections, 25 vessels used for illegal fishing were seized in 2020 while in 2019 the authorities confiscated four.