The Minister of Fisheries and Sea of the Republic of Angola, Honourable Dr Maria Antonieta Josefina Sabina Baptista, on 17th of October 2019 in Gaborone, Botswana, signed the Charter establishing the SADC Regional Fisheries Monitoring Control Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC) in Maputo, Mozambique.
The SADC Council of Ministers approved the Charter establishing the MCSCC at their meeting held in August 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. The objective of the Charter is to provide a legal framework for the establishment and operationalisation of an institution that will coordinate measures relating to fisheries monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) in the SADC region.
Hon. Baptista highlighted the important role that fisheries play in the livelihoods of the Angolan people and more so in the SADC region as a whole. Since taking over office, the Minister has revitalised the Angolan fishing industry, through promotion of sustainable fisheries management and development of aquaculture. The Minister has also advocated for increased investments in the sector to promote trade. This has provided positive spins to the economy of the country, through promotion of sustainable employment and livelihood opportunities for the Angolan people.
The Minister expressed concern that fisheries resources in the region are under tremendous pressure, especially from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. In 2008, the SADC Ministers responsible for Fisheries had made a commitment to strengthen regional cooperation in the fight against the scourge of IUU fishing. In this regard, Hon. Baptista outlined that the region has made advances in implementing this commitment by enhancing regional cooperation, especially in establishing the MCSCC, and encouraged other Ministers of Fisheries from the region to commit further to this cooperation through signing of the Charter.
The Minister further highlighted that “This Charter contains 26 Articles and the realization of the MCSCC will undoubtedly serve to promote regional cooperation, information sharing and cost-effective coordination and shared use of MCS assets to eliminate IUU fishing in the SADC region. In this regard, as Minister of Fisheries and Sea of the Republic of Angola, I have the honour to sign the MCSCC Charter today”.
Angola became the 8th State Party to the Charter establishing MCSCC, joining Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. Two thirds of the SADC Member States are required to sign the Charter for it to enter into force, and thus, Hon. Baptista encouraged the SADC Secretariat to continuously engage Member States which have not signed the Charter to do so, to enable the region to realize the commitment to fight IUU fishing through establishment of the MCSCC. She also committed to engage other Ministers to commit to signing of the Charter in order to strengthen cooperation and capacity to stop illegal fishing and to build sustainable blue growth in the SADC region.
Photo caption: Minister Baptista (left) of Angola signed the Charter in the presence of Her Excellency Dr Beatriz de Morais (right), Angolan Ambassador to Botswana; Ambassador Joseph André Nourrice (center), Deputy Executive Secretary- Corporate Affairs at SADC Secretariat during the ceremony held at SADC Secretariat, SADC House in Gaborone, Botswana.