The Chief Executive Officer, Morbod Group, Mrs Margaret Orakwusi, on Thursday alleged that fish poachers with foreign vessels fail to conform to rules and regulations on African waters.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Orakwusi, explained that foreign vessels extract the bottom-to-the-top approach without considering the future.
““They come and they have nothing at stake, they fish in the most irregular and irresponsible manner, they don’t conform to any rules and regulations and of course they are stealing,” she said.
She noted that there are certain sizes of fish that are not allowed to be caught, the juveniles and the big ones that lay the golden eggs.
Orakwusi, also the Chairman, Shipowners Forum, said that the poachers do not care about the future.
“We all know that bigger vessels come from all these world powers to poach on our resources and we may not be able to arrest them.
“The poachers have nothing at stake, they come to our waters, and they don’t care about the depletion of natural resources,” she said.
She said that Africa had lost billion of dollars to foreigners that come with big vessels.
”A very interesting question is where they find a market for the stolen products from Africa because the sea has law and order.
”As one take seafood product from an environment, analysis will tell where it comes from, so the question again is who provide a market for them.
“It’s an international conspiracy. For me, to have customers buying my products, they can close their eyes, identify my products and say where it’s coming from.
“They can also say that it has passed all their stringent rules and regulations; so these other people that steal, who is providing a market for them,” she asked.
Orakwusi, however, said that the country had no capacity to stop the fish poachers.
“For those of us who are licensed by different African government, we fish in a regular manner. Our activities are highly monitored, so there is no space to play games.
“What we do is highly scientific for us to be able to market our products outside Nigeria.
“We in the industrial fishing do more of shellfish, which means it’s for export market and the regulators cut across Nigeria.
”We have regulators from European Union and when you hear about regulation, it’s the toughest you can get anywhere.
“This is because right from the ship to every corner of the vessel, it must be in accordance to their standards. Even with those that work for us, their hygiene, medication, everything is highly monitored,” she said.
On dead fishes on the shorelines, Orakwusi stressed the need for constant inspection of water and products to avoid pollution.
She said that Nigeria conforms to international standard in the handling of fishes.
“So out there in the sea, there is a capacity level of freezing, handling, packaging and others. You can easily trace product from our environment.
“There are fisheries lab that the private and government sector put together to analyse products for export and since the establishment of that lab, no product has failed analysis anywhere in the world.
“I am taking time to explain this because contaminated products are not from us, otherwise our country will have been sanctioned. The question is where are they coming from, and it is from these poachers.
“They come and they have nothing at stake, they fish in the most irregular and irresponsible manner, they don’t conform to any rules and regulations and of course they are stealing,” she said.
Orakwusi added that some African countries claimed that these poachers used dynamite which had resulted in dead rotten fish at seashores.