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Blue gold: Africa’s oceans

October 14, 2016

An aerial picture taken on January 19, 2012 shows 400 students gathering to form a giant fish on the beach of Yoff Diamalaye in Dakar to draw Senegalese presidential candidate's attention to the problems of the fisheries sector in Senegal during a rally called by global environmental Greenpeace and fishermen organizations for a "responsible and sustainable fisheries" at the end of a campaign to collect signatures throughout the country. The operation "My voice, my future," has collected over 6,000 signatures - against 3,000 originally planned - in the fishing communities in the large fishing zones of the country, said Raoul Monsembula, an official of Greenpeace-Africa based in Dakar, during a press conference.  AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

An aerial picture taken on January 19, 2012 shows 400 students gathering to form a giant fish on the beach of Yoff Diamalaye in Dakar to draw Senegalese presidential candidate’s attention to the problems of the fisheries sector in Senegal during a rally called by global environmental Greenpeace and fishermen organizations for a “responsible and sustainable fisheries” at the end of a campaign to collect signatures throughout the country. The operation “My voice, my future,” has collected over 6,000 signatures – against 3,000 originally planned – in the fishing communities in the large fishing zones of the country, said Raoul Monsembula, an official of Greenpeace-Africa based in Dakar, during a press conference. AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU (Photo credit should read SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images)

Around 30 heads of state will congregate in Togo tomorrow for an African Union summit on the continent’s oceans. While 30% of Africa’s 54 states are landlocked, they all depend on the seas: 90% of the region’s imports and exports are traded by ocean. Marine fisheries added some $15 billion to the continent’s GDP in 2011, but another $1.3 billion leaks away through illegal fishing, and trawling by foreign vessels is driving up domestic prices of the vital protein source.

Also on the agenda—as ever—is piracy. The threat has all but vanished off the Horn of Africa, thanks to international efforts. But gangs from Nigeria’s restive Delta region have made the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea increasingly treacherous since the start of 2015, as violence also spiked among their landlubbing compatriots. Low oil prices are already battering Nigeria’s economy. It can ill afford ships being scared from its shores.

*Economist

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