The Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has sought to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture as well as Security Agencies to curb illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in Nigerian waters. 

Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh enlisted the support the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar, at a meeting on Wednesday. 

Dr. Jamoh described IUU as a major threat to the source of livelihood of legitimate fishing investors. He also decried exposure of the marine environment to avoidable pollution through such unlawful activities.

He explained that beside piracy, sea robbery, oil theft and other maritime vices, the Deep Blue project also aims at preventing unlawful commercial activities like unregulated fishing on Nigeria's territorial waters.

He also said NIMASA is now, more than ever, focused on preventing marine pollution, which threatens aquatic life and jobs of trawler operators, who have the requisite permits from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to embark on commercial fishing in Nigeria. 

He urged the Minister to key into the Deep Blue project considering the array of benefits it holds for Nigerians.

"We have been experiencing illegal fishing in our waters and the ministry assigned with the responsibility of issuing certificates of approval to conduct fishing especially in commercial quantity, is the Ministry of Agriculture.

"We resolved to collaborate, co-operate, co-ordinate and communicate with each other in terms of the legality and illegality of fishing in our own waters by the international community and the minister assured us of support", Dr Jamoh stated.

The Minister of Agriculture also expressed his readiness to work NIMASA on the project. He said; "We have the Department of Fisheries and also the Quarantine Agency. We are very much ready, to put together a formidable team that would work with the Deep Blue project and we have the capacity of experienced staff that can participate and bring additional push to the project. 

"We are aware of some of the issues concerning illegal fishing and already the ministry and department officials are doing something about that. I can assure the DG that we will get that put together soon."

Recall that President Mohammadu Buhari commissioned the Deep Blue Water Project earlier this year to protect the Country's waters from degradation, pollution, illegal fishing activities and general insecurity.

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