The Chairperson of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Margaret Orakwusi has called on the Federal Government to come up with policies and strategies that end yearly loss of billions of dollars to illegal fishing yearly.
In an interview, she linked the scourge to unabated fraudulent activities of poachers on the nation territorial waters, insisting that time has come for Nigerian ship owners to takeover fishing activities from illegal and irresponsible fishing firms littering the waters without checks.
Orakwusi told journalists in Abuja that “these poachers have nothing at stake in the waters as they find markets for these products running into billions of dollars yearly.”
Just as she wondered why such fraudulent activities are going on and why it is being encouraged, SOAN boss argued that “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.