Mozambique loses US$56 million in tax revenue annually from illegal fishing along its more than 2,500 kilometres of coastline, said Leonilde Chimarizane, head of the National Supervisory Directorate of the Ministry of the Sea, Inland Water and Fisheries.
The amount of the tax evasion was disclosed by Chimarizane during the celebrations of World Fisheries Day, whose ceremonies took place at the Machangulo Community Fishing Centre, in Matutuine district, Maputo province.
Chimarizane pointed out that the US$56 million includes payment of fishing licenses, provision of various services in national ports, purchase of fuels and other expenses borne by companies or legal entities.
The Mozambican coast, the second largest in East Africa after Somalia, presents an enormous challenge for enforcement.
“We have had cases of illegal fishing, some by licensed fishermen, but who during their activities violate the rules set out for what they are allowed to catch,” he said.
Other types of illegal fishing is carried out by individuals, groups or companies, who catch varieties of fish for which they are not licensed.
Licensed vessels in Mozambique, both industrial and semi-industrial, have a VMS automatic tracking device or “Vessel Monitoring System” installed to track their location and activity.
The big challenge, according to Chimarizane, is vessels operating illegally, with the Mozambican government favouring regional surveillance, with joint patrols along the coast.