Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-The United Nations resident coordinator and Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) representative to Namibia Kiki Gbeho says more than three billion people worldwide depend on fish as their daily source of food and protein source.
Hence, she says, the protection and sustainable use of fisheries resources is of utmost importance. Gbeho made the observation on Saturday morning aboard the Norwegian fisheries research vessel, Nansen RV, that docked at the Port of Walvis Bay after a regional survey of pelagic resources along the Atlantic coast of Africa.
The highly advanced research vessel was availed through a smart partnership to the FOA by the Norwegian government to carry out research and support fisheries management to the participating countries, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Morocco and others along the Atlantic coastline of Africa.
The vessels and a coterie of scientists on board through innovation and advanced technology assist the affected countries to conserve and sustainably utilise marine resources for development, taking into account the marine ecosystem, the impact of climate change and pollution.
According to commitment shown, this cooperation clearly indicates the importance of marine life and the crucial role oceans continue to play in the world’s economy.
Nations and industries are increasingly looking to the ocean for more economic opportunities, food security and extractives. They are going farther and deeper into our seas to extract living and non-living marine resources.
Therefore, solving global challenges that threaten the co-existence of fisheries and in turn the livelihoods of millions, who directly depend on the ocean, should be addressed to ensure long-term sustainability,” Gbeho explained.
She said the global market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at 3 trillion annually, 5 percent of the global Gross Domestic Product. She added that 40 percent of the world’s oceans are heavily affected by human activities that include pollution and depleted fisheries.
About 70 percent of coral reefs are also threatened, she noted.
“More than half of global fisheries are exhausted and a further third are depleted due to overfishing. While 3 billion people depend on fish for their daily protein. Meanwhile almost 800 million people still live in poverty according to Unicef, while 22,000 children die quietly every day due to poverty. Over 800 million people go to bed hungry daily and this umber is rising,” she said.