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Minister Lidia Cardoso is attending the UN Ocean Conference, taking place in Lisbon. [Image: Euronews]
According to the Mozambican Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Lidia Cardoso, the Mozambican government has received guarantees from the World Bank that it will finance the construction of a monitoring centre to assess the risks of piracy, illegal fishing and other crimes that occur along the Mozambican coast.
Speaking to AIM in Lisbon, where she is attending the United Nations Oceans Conference, Cardoso said the government is now waiting for conformation from other southern African countries who should also use the monitoring centre.
“With our neighbours in southern Africa and with the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) we have various agreements which are facilitating the collection of signatures”, she said. She was confident that the World Bank will disburse the funds, and construction of the centre should begin within a year.
Cardoso also said that Mozambique is carrying out a fishing census, to ascertain how many Mozambicans are working in artisanal fishing and aquaculture – these are the activities which account for 90 per cent of Mozambican fisheries production.
“Our artisanal fishermen catch fish up to three miles from the coast”, she said. “This survey will also allow us to see how they are being affected by the closed season (which lasts between three and five months, depending on the species). The closed season is a necessary measure to avoid the extinction of some species and allow their reproduction”.
A considerable part of the Mozambican population depends on fishing for their livelihood. The government, said Cardoso, “intends to guarantee, through aquaculture that the fishermen can produce and catch fish, even during the closed season”.
Illegal fishing remains a major challenge for the government. It has a damaging effect on the economy and is reckoned to cost the country about 60 million dollars a year.
As well as piracy and illegal fishing, the Mozambican delegation is also bringing concerns about climate change to the Lisbon meeting. In recent years, Mozambique has been hit by a series of extreme climatic events, notably floods, and tropical cyclones that sweep into coastal areas from the Mozambique Channel. The government hopes to discuss in Lisbon measures for climate change mitigation.