Africa must sustainably make use of the natural resources found along its 26,000 nautical mile coastline. The continent’s marine environment is key to revenue from shipping, fishing, tourism, offshore oil and gas exploration, as well as aquaculture, yet it loses USD 50 billion in illicit unreported and unregulated fishing.
If African countries became proactive and streamlined their fishing operations, fished their coastal waters themselves and reduced licensing foreign fleets to do the fishing, the continent could garner about US$3.3 billion more annually. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates in its report The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2014 that in 2011, Africa earned US$24 billion from its fisheries, comprising nearly US$15 billion from marine fisheries, US$6.3 billion from its inland fisheries and US$2.8 billion from aquaculture.
Two thirds of African countries have access to the sea yet opaque, illicit and illegal practices make the continent not to experience its full marine potential. West Africa’s shores, for example, lose an estimated $1.3 billion annually in illegal fishing with Senegal alone losing $300 million. Cumulatively, the total illicit financial flows from illegal fishing deprive the continent of USD 50 billion. This is equivalent to 5.7% of its GDP. This must be curtailed.