The Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) has decried the persistent fraudulent activities of poachers who engage in illegal and irresponsible fishing, on Nigeria’s territorial waters.
According to the association, these illegal activities have cost the country to lose billions of dollars yearly.
Chairperson of the association, Margaret Orakwusi made this disclosure on Tuesday, during a chat with newsmen at the Global Maritime security conference in Abuja.
Orakwusi while stressing that the activities of the poachers have been going on for long, added that they fish illegally in an irresponsible manner and find markets to sell them.
In her words, “If the pirates are winning the war at sea, then how do we sit back and allow these poachers to 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 and Sea Cucumber. We must build capacities to arrest these poachers because poaching is all over Africa.”
She further stated that her crew tests the river periodically by analyzing the water, dates, freeze and undergo in-house testing by the Nigerian Fishery Lab and finally certifies the products.