The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is assisting Nigeria to monitor her territorial waters through the Earth Observation Data (EOD).
The Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Architect Sonny Echono disclosed that the monitoring would include the marine waters, provision of security for fishing vessels and their operators and also to ensure the protection of the environment in the coastal waters of Nigeria and West Africa.
Echono who was represented by the Ministry’s Director of Fisheries, Aderemi Abioye, stated this while addressing stakeholders recently in Abuja at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Regional Steering Committee Meeting of ECOWAS on Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) with the Theme “Enhancing the Use of Earth Observation to support Fisheries Management and Safety at Sea in Western Africa”
Echono said “The partnership through ECOWAS was to build platforms for collaborations and partnerships with other African countries in the West African regions to harmonize our regulations and monitor the operations of fishing vessels across the region.”
Earth observation data is the information about planet Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems via remote sensing technologies supplemented by earth surveying techniques.
He added that as part of efforts to meet the nation’s fish demands “the federal ministry of agriculture is promoting aqua -culture, accommodating new investment in fish production, encouraging and empowering artisanal fishermen to be able to produce fish from rivers, lagoons lakes and all inland waters in the country”
Provost, University of Ghana Prof. Ebenezer Owusu in his key note address also said “the goal of the workshop is to help curb illegal unregulated and unreported fishing activities using satellite imagery as global losses due to IUU or pirate fishing which are estimated to be between USD $10b, about N199billion and US $23.5b about N4.67trillion annually.
“West Africa waters are estimated to have the highest levels of IUU fishing in the World, representing up to 37 per cent of the regions catch. Adding that to economic losses pirate fishing in West Africa severely compromises the food security and livelihoods of coastal communities.”