Mozambique: Minister Defends Maximising Benefits of the Sea

The Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Lidia Cardoso, on 8 June called for maximising the benefits that the sea offers. Speaking in Maputo, during a seminar held as part of the celebrations of World Oceans Day, Cardoso stressed that by "recognising the importance of the sea to our country, which lives with the sea and from the sea, the government of Mozambique is strongly committed to maximising the benefits that the sea offers, always on a sustainable basis, hence our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals" (SDG 14 calls for the protection of marine species through the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources).

The use of the sea, Cardoso added, does not distinguish between races, ethnicities, party, or religious affiliations, "and therefore, as Mozambicans, we must share ideas, visions, strategies and actions for the noble mission that is incumbent upon all, the defence of the sea and marine ecosystems, their sustainable use, and protection for future generations".

This, said the minister, imposes great challenges, such as combating illegal fishing and other practices harmful to the health of marine habitats, notably the destruction of key ecosystems such as mangrove forests. "And not only that, but the proliferation of garbage and plastic waste in our waters turns the oceans into hotbeds of disease, endangering the lives of us all", she stressed.

Cardoso said that Mozambique, with 60 per cent of its the population living on the coastal strip, should strive for sustainable governance of the sea and in the spirit of healthy coexistence "with other peoples and nations, cooperation, friendship and solidarity, because the sea, without borders or deadlines, unites and brings together all peoples which is the reason for the strong commitment to the development of a global Blue Economy."

"Since last year, we have set in motion the Mangrove Ecosystem National Restoration Programme, which has been mobilising, on a national scale, Mozambican society to engage in the implementation of the Mangrove Strategy", the minister said, under which the government is determined to restore 5,000 hectares of mangroves by the end of this year.

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