Sustainable Use of Marine Resources

SUSTAINABLE USE OF MARINE RESOURCES 9

SustainableUse of Marine Resources

Angolais a nation with an economic system that mainly relies onagriculture, mining, and oil. The majority of people have a lowstandard of living, and the country’s economy can only improvethrough the conservation of its resources. The sustainable use ofAngola’s oceans, seas, and marine resources is an important issuethat the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) should address.Angola’s marine resources contribute a significant portion of thecountry’s GDP, and fishing is one of the most important commercialsectors after diamond mining and oil exploration (FAO, 2016). Thenation is concerned about the protection of its natural environment,and Article 12 of its constitution affirms that the state isresponsible for guiding the use and exploitation of its naturalresources (IBP, 2013). Considering that oil production is one ofAngola’s most important economic sectors, oil spills are frequent,and they have an adverse impact on the nation’s environment, andmore so the marine ecology. While drilling activities have been asignificant boost to the Angolan economic development in the recentpast, they have also adversely affected other sectors of the economysuch as the fishing industry. This position paper, therefore,explains Angola’s policy on the efficient use of oceans and marineresources.

Angolahas established measures to ensure improved sustainability in the useof its ocean and marine resources on a national level. It is apparentthat overfishing can negatively interfere with the marine ecosystem,and significantly lower the production of fish. Angola implementedthe Aquatic Biological Resources law in 2004 to prevent theunauthorized access of foreign vessels in the nation’s waters (FAO,2016). Industrial fisheries have a high production potential in acountry such as Angola since it is part of a large marine ecosystem.By restricting the number of vessels that fish within its coastline,Angola has ensured that its stock is not depleted.

Theother action that Angola has taken to improve the reasonable use ofits ocean and marine resources is the regulation of the fishingtechniques. Some of the fishing methods utilized by the industrialfisheries could significantly reduce the fishing potential of thedeep waters when they overexploit the marine resources. In 2004, theAngolan government abolished the use of mid-water trawls, and themost common fishing technique that industrial fisheries utilize ispurse-seining (FAO, 2016). This regulation by the Angola governmentalso aimed at promoting the sustainable use of marine resources bycurbing overfishing.

Althoughthe nation’s economy is rapidly improving, the only way it can bein a similar position with other countries headed to the developedeconomic status is the proper management of its resources. Angola’smarine ecosystem is one of the richest in Africa, and the appropriatemarine protection policy can help to alleviate poverty and increasethe region’s foreign exchange earnings. The Angolan government haslanding limits and fishing restrictions placed as a way of preservingthe marine environment (DiMento &amp Hickman, 2012). This approachenables the achievement of efficient exploitation of the marineresources while maximizing the economic benefits for those in thefishing industry.

Angolahas seen the need to address the efficient use of oceans and marineresources, and it has collaborated with other governments such asSouth Africa and Namibia on the same issue. Some of the concerns thecountry sought to address through sustainable use included pollution,habitat loss, and the unsustainable exploitation of marine resources(United Nations, 2012). Oils spills from the production of petroleumproducts in the nation’s coastal waters not only pose a risk tohuman health, but also to the environment. Even though the Angolanclimate is suitable for the fishing industry, the country cannotachieve its maximum fishery potential if it cannot protect its marineecosystem.

Angolaand some of its neighboring nations, including South Africa andNamibia agreed to partner in the conversation of the marine ecosystemwithin their coastlines. The three countries established the BenguelaCurrent Convection (BCC) in 2013 with the aim of ensuring theeconomical use of the region’s Large Marine Ecosystem (Mandrup &ampVrey, 2015). Since Angola and the other two Southern Africancountries have a common marine ecosystem, it is important to have acooperative management of the resources. However, these states couldnot manage their marine resources without a program that promotesintegrated governance, and this is the reason they established theBCC convection.

TheBenguela current extends from the South African coast to northernAngola, and the annual production of this marine ecosystem is $54.3billion (Mandrup &amp Vrey, 2015). This figure proves that theBenguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) is of significantimportance to the economies of the three countries. Some of theindustrial activities that occur in this region include marinediamond mining, commercial fishing, offshore oil production, as wellas coastal tourism (UNDP, 2013). Angola and the other two nationsthat utilize this ecosystem had to ratify the convention that aimedat ensuring sustainable use of the marine environment.

Eventhough Angola signed the BCC Convention recently, it has alwayscooperated with Namibia and South Africa in the sustainablemanagement of the Large Marine Ecosystem. Angola’s UNDP ResidentRepresentative asserted that the BCC commission is the most efficientway of managing the Large Marine Ecosystem, and it would ensure thecountries’ sustainable future (UNOPS, 2013). The partner nationscan now collect and share data that would facilitate the protectionof vulnerable marine species, as well as the coastal habitat withinthe BCLME.

Underthe BCLME, Angola has also collaborated with the Global EnvironmentFacility (GEF) to address sustainability issues within its coastalarea (Cicin-Sain, 2015). The GEF supported BCLME’s Strategic ActionPlan, which established a policy framework that would promote theeconomical use of marine resources. One of the cooperative actionsthe country agreed to in this action plan was the development ofanticipatory actions including oil spills contingency plans andutilizing clean water technologies (Birmingham, 2015). By cooperatingwith the other members of the BCLME, Angola can easily assess theimpact of mining in the ocean and utilize its marine resources in abetter way.

Moreover,the state has benefited from the National Oceanic and AtmosphericAdministration’s support of the BCLME. The United States’ bodyhas enabled the BCLME to prepare a program that aims at reversing theenvironmental impacts present in the ecosystem (DiMento &ampHickman, 2012). Its marine ecosystem has suffered from the adverseeffects of habitat modification and overfishing, and this program hashelped in addressing the region’s degradation. Angola also benefitsfrom the Benguela Environment Fisheries Training Program with a grantof $38 million from the GEF (DiMneto &amp Hickman, 2012).

Recommendationsfor Action

Angolahas taken drastic measures to enhance the sustainable use of itsmarine resources, and this includes the signing of the BenguelaCurrent Convection. However, it still requires help from theinternational community so that it can effectively utilize theresources, and at the same time, conserve the environment. Theoverexploitation of diamond and oil, especially in the marine areas,has led to the loss of biodiversity and degradation of the ecosystem.Nevertheless, Angola still relies on these resources, and it evenattributes its fast economic development to their exploitation,considering that its oil reserves are 13 billion barrels (Mandrup &ampVrey, 2015).

TheUnited Nations Environment Assembly could help Angola in theestablishment of more marine protected areas. Although Angola has toset aside a reasonable portion of its ocean’s waters for fishingpurposes, the reservation of larger marine protected areas wouldstill support fisheries. Equally important, the protected areas wouldreverse the adverse impacts of pollution in the ocean and conservebiodiversity. In the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the authoritiesdo not allow fishing activities and the removal of resources, butsome resourceful activities could be authorized in the partiallyprotected MPAs (Jones, 2014).

AlthoughAngola would reduce the total fishing area by increasing the numberof MPAs, taking this action could potentially increase the totalfisheries production. In 2014, Angola’s Marine Protected Areasconstituted only 7.1% of the nation’s regional ocean, and this wassignificantly lower than the MPAs in Sub-Saharan Africa, whoseaverage was 11.7% (World Bank, 2014). The Angolan government cannotestablish the MPAs quickly without the help of the internationalcommunity since it would also need a coordinated regional approach onthe matter. Considering that the state already has a formal agreementwith Namibia and South Africa in the BCC Convention, the threecountries should cooperate in securing more MPAs.

Angolacan utilize the UNCLOS framework in the establishment of its MPAs.This structure provides the basis for outlining continental shelvesas well as territorial waters, and it also institutes a state’ssovereign rights to exploit its resources in the economic zone(Jones, 2014). Once Angola has reserved more of its ocean area forMPAs, the UNCLOS framework would be essential in helping the nationto protect these sections of the sea. The UNEA should, however, helpit to set up proper management and conservation measures to protectthe marine ecosystem.

Angolaalso recommends the UNEA to utilize its resources to shift thebaseline of its marine ecosystem. A high number of people in thecountry depend on the fishing as an economic activity consideringthat the state’s economy is not well developed. Consequently,Angola’s marine population has significantly declined, and thecountry needs the initiative that would restore the coastalbionetwork.

Conclusion

Industrialfisheries have a high production potential in a country such asAngola since it is part of a large marine ecology. The stateimplemented the Aquatic Biological Resources law in 2004 to preventthe unauthorized access of foreign vessels in its waters. Inaddition, it became part of the Benguela Current Convection (BCC) in2013 with the aim of ensuring the sustainable use of the region’sLarge Marine Ecosystem. However, the overexploitation of diamond andoil in the Angolan coastline has led to the loss of biodiversity anddegradation of the ecosystem.The United Nations Environment Assemblycan, therefore, help Angola in the establishment of more marineprotected areas.

References

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