Proponents of a sustainable and integrated maritime domain in the waters around Africa say it will be easier to achieve than a United States of Africa, according a report in IndependentOnline.
Such a domain would include an exclusive economic zone, key to developing a sustainable “blue economy” for the continent, the report said. Today, each country with a coastline manages a 200-nautical-mile zone with full fishing, gas and mineral exploitation rights.
The vision for an integrated maritime domain around Africa was presented in Ethiopia in December as part of the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy at a conference of African ministers responsible for maritime affairs.
The document was a draft that will hopefully be formally adopted by the African Union this year, said Professor Patrick Vrancken of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth in the IndependentOnline report. He spoke this week at a Fisheries Crime Symposium organised by the Fisheries Crime Symposium.
The strategy proposes a common fisheries policy for conservation, management and exploitation of the continent’s marine resources. The draft urges all A.U. members to try to deter illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and other criminal activities in the maritime domain such as piracy, human trafficking, illegal oil bunkering and crude oil theft, and illegal arms and drug trafficking, the report says.
Among the measures recommended for reducing and containing illegal fishing are: effective licensing and control of vessels allowed to fish by flag states; real-time positional reporting by licensed vessels and surveillance and interception of irresponsible fishing by patrols.
Regional economic communities have been asked to develop a common strategy that would warrant 24/7 patrolling of the seas with effective communications and rapid response, offshore patrol vessels, fast inshore boats, maritime patrol aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles or drones and helicopters for surveillance and deterrence.
Vrancken said the aim was to have the strategy in place by 2050.