Nigeria may be losing billions of dollars to illegal fishing yearly following the unabated fraudulent activities of poachers on the nation territorial waters.
Nigerian ship owners are worried that they only take 40 percent of what they should be getting while 60 percent is lost to illegal and irresponsible fishing.
The Chairperson of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria, Margaret Orakwusi who expressed concerns said the activities have been going on for long stating that these poachers steal the fishes in the water in a very irresponsible way.
Margaret in a chat with newsmen at the ongoing Global Maritime security conference on Tuesday, in Abuja, said these poachers have nothing at stake in the waters as they find markets for these products running into billions of dollars yearly.
She wondered why such fraudulent activities are going on and why it is being encouraged.
“If the pirates are winning the war at sea, then how do we sit back and allow these poachers sell their products and that is what we are trying to advocate.
“Where are they selling the stolen products? Where are they finding the markets for the products and what banking institutions do they use that they are not being accused of money laundering?
“Because for us who do it the right way, you have to get your payment into your domiciliary account, you have to tell the history of the fund. It is an international conspiracy; if we are not able to face these poachers in the high sea, we should be able to force the financial institutions to be more prudent and ask questions, we have the law of money laundering all over the world.
“Where are the markets, the markets are in Europe, Asia and we have boldly accused them of coming into our waters and poaching in our resources in the most irresponsible manner.
“They are stealing from this generation and generations unborn. Fishes are not cheap such as Lobsters, Prawn, Sea Cucumber. We must build capacities to arrest these poachers because poaching is all over Africa,” she said.
Orakusi said her crew periodically tests everything in the river such as analyzing and certified free from all source of substance.
She said they do compliance by analyzing the water, date and make sure they freeze and undergo in-house testing by the Nigerian Fishery Lab and then certify their products.