Lagos — The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has said that it has canceled the payment of the two percent administrative fee charged to fishing trawler owners with a view to attracting more Nigerians to the fishing sector.
Speaking to Sweetcrudereports, Director General of the NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who disclosed this development also said that the Ministry of Agriculture, particularly the Department of Fisheries is mulling plans to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with a view to tackling illegal fishing activities on the nation’s waters.
He stated: “We have come to realize that many a time, criminals hijack fishing trawlers and use these fishing trawlers to attack other vessels. Currently, we do not charge them any fee.
“So, if the issue of regulatory functions is being expunged from the Cabotage Act it will further worsen the issue of unregulated, Unreported and Illegal fishing activities. International communities come with their fishing trawlers and do all kinds of things on our waters.
“Nigerian fishing trawlers owners should be more concerned about these illegalities and about expunging the regulatory functions from the Act. If we expunge them from our own mandate in terms of regulatory and registration functions, then we will have problems.
“I was with the Minister of Agriculture and we are now going to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on how the Department of Fisheries can be part and parcel of our Deep Blue project to see how we can curb and remove those illegal and unauthorized fishing on our waters.
“On my part, our duty is to ensure that the mandate given to me is fully implemented. I will look at areas where the mandates count.”
Recall that the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association, NITOA, had demanded the removal of trawlers from the Nigerian Cabotage Act saying that “the Global Maritime Industry is governed by two international bodies, the International Maritime Labour, ILO, and the International Maritime Organization, IMO.
Also, recall that a Ministerial Committee on the review and implementation of the Cabotage Act recommended an administrative exemption of trawlers pending the amendment of the Act.
In the presentation NITOA’s President, Mrs. Ben Okonkwo, said that since fishing activities do not include carriage or transportation of goods or passengers as economic activities, trawling and fishing should be excluded from the Cabotage regime.
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