Protection of Gulf of Guinea crucial to food security, says NIMASA
BY FRANCIS EZEM
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has said that protecting the Gulf of Guinea would remain crucial to the quest for food security in the West and Central African sub-region. The agency therefore insists that the region must be made safe and secure in order to avert illegal activities that may hamper food supply within the sub region.
The Director General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside stated this at the seminar on the State of Food Security Assured by the Seas of West and Central Africa and Perspectives on the Blue Economy among member states of the Gulf of Guinea Commission GGC organised by NIMASA in conjunction with the GGC in Lagos.
Represented at the event by the Executive Director Finance and Administration of the agency, Dr. Bashir Jamoh peterside observed that the Gulf of Guinea which is a major shipping route must be properly guarded if the countries of the region are to properly harness the blue economy for the growth of their local economies.
“The Gulf of Guinea, aside being a major shipping route, is also home for many aquatic species and so the member nations of the region must do everything to safeguard the region from illegal fishing, piracy and other activities that may affect the food chain”
“NIMASA knows the importance of the region to the African continent and that is the major reason the agency has continuously championed collaborations amongst member states in order to develop the continent’s blue economy through sustainable shipping. So this seminar will also assist participating countries to better understand the blue economy and how to properly harness the inherent potential of the African maritime industry.
The Executive Secretary of the Gulf of Guinea Commission, Florentina Ukonga, while speaking at the event, commended the leadership of NIMASA for the role the agency is playing in ensuring safety of lives and property in the region.
She said the Commission decided to have a seminar on the blue economy to promote sustainable shipping in the region.
Recall that the Gulf of Guinea Commission was established by the treaty signed in Libreville, Gabon on July 3, 2001 by Nigeria, Angola, Gabon as well as Sao Tome and Principe. The seminar was the second in the series organised by the commission to sensitise member states on the advantages of sustainable shipping.
Ukonga had made a strong case for concerted efforts on the part of the governments and citizens of countries within the Gulf of Guinea towards the protection of the region’s Blue Economy to forestall the devastating effects of the looming food insecurity in the region.
She therefore noted that it has become expedient for countries in the region to begin to take concrete and deliberate steps to develop, protect and harness the wealth embedded in the region’s Blue Economy, arguing that since 71 per cent of the earth surface is covered by water, no food security is sustainable without protecting the oceans.
“The Blue Economy is an economy based on legitimate economic activities carried out at sea, provided by the sea ans sustained by the sea. How then do we take full advantage of the vase resources of our region to improve the standards of living of the population?.
‘Fishing is an occupation practiced by almost all riverine populations. Artisanal fishing for maintaining self and the family and commercial fishing for providing other goods and services that may be needed. This can be developed to the level that no importation of frozen marine living resources from outside the Gulf of Guinea region will be necessary for consumption if our living marine resources are properly developed, harnessed, grown and controlled.
“There is strong evidence that major ocean assets have been in steady decline for many years, many of the living marine resources are in serious decline as a result of human activities at sea and there have not been any serious sustainable practices to deal with this serious threat in this part of the country”, she had said