New Fisheries Act Lays Basis For Sustainable Fisheries In Mozambique



Posted on 23 April 2013  | 
Rights based management of fisheries is expected to help Mozambican fishermen hook more benefits from their fisheries
© John KabubuEnlarge
The Mozambican Parliament has by consensus approved a new Fisheries Act which will address rights-based management of fisheries, mainly for the direct benefit of local fishermen and pro-poor conservation. The approval of this Fisheries Act makes Mozambique the first country in the Western Indian Ocean region to officially adopt legislation that embraces rights-based management of fisheries.

Rights-based management (RBM) is a fisheries management tool that creates rules which define both the right to use allocation of fisheries resources and the responsibility to manage them. Thus, fishermen, fishing vessels, fishing communities and so forth can be awarded a license, quota or fishing right to stocks.

According to Mozambique’s Minister of Fisheries Mr. Victor Borges, the new fisheries act approved last week by parliament replaces the former one dated 1990.

“The previous act was out-dated and, therefore, not able to combat various infractions committed in this sector. In this new act, rights will be given to nationals for a certain period, depending on the fishery resource in relation to which the rights are given,” said the Minister.

More than 100,000 Mozambicans depend directly on fishing and more than 530,000 depend on it indirectly according to Mozambique’s Ministry of Fisheries. The new Fisheries Act is expected to give more rights to these fishermen along with addressing infractions in the fisheries sector that skew the playing field against local communities in Mozambique.

Mozambique lost revenues of US$67 million in 2012 due to illegal fishing, basically of tuna and shrimp, by foreign and national fishing vessels within its jurisdictional waters, particularly the bays of Maputo and Sofala Bank, Mozambican newspaper Correio da Manhã reported.

WWF Coastal East Africa Initiative Leader Peter Scheren congratulated the government of Mozambique for passing the act but noted that it is expected by many players in the sector that this new act will address loss of revenue with the aim of ensuring more socio-economic benefits to local communities whilst conserving precious and sometimes inadequate fisheries resources.

“This is a huge step taken by Mozambique to promote sustainable fisheries management, not only in Mozambique but also in the Western Indian Ocean region. We believe that this new approach will effectively empower local communities to actively manage their artisanal fisheries, bringing more socio-economic benefits to them while conserving fisheries resources,” noted Mr. Scheren.

Fisheries experts have warned that mismanagement of fisheries is costing African countries between 2 and 5 billion dollars every year. Illegal fishing alone accounts for the loss of fish valued at 1 billion dollars every year from the waters of Sub-Saharan Africa. The new Fisheries Act will aim at addressing such losses related to Mozambique.

By John Kabubu 
Rights based management of fisheries is expected to help Mozambican fishermen hook more benefits from their fisheries
© John Kabubu Enlarge

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