Coastal African countries have long been at a disadvantage when it comes to regional fishing because their smaller boats can't go out far enough out to reach fish stocks caught instead by larger international fishing operations. This practice has long been tolerated by the United Nations because supposedly stocks were large enough to allow it. However, a new tax could begin to partially account for the ecological and economic impact of large scale fishing. Science Daily reports that an optimum tax to be placed on large scale fishing operations off Africa's coasts will serve to protect native fish stocks and smaller African economies.
"Allowing technically advanced fishing fleets to fish offshore within Ghana's economic zone means that inshore fish stocks, which are accessible to the country's own, small-scale fishing fleets, are also dwindling," says Kofi Vondolia, whose study forms part of a doctoral thesis at the University of Gothenburg.
Currently, offshore fishing practices are regulated by the UN and prior to Vondolia's research the UN had operated under the misleading assumption that there was a surplus of fish stocks off Ghana's coast.
According to Science Daily:
Kofi Vondolia has developed a bioeconomic model in order to calculate an optimum tax on fishing at sea, or offshore fishing. This tax can be used as a tool for political control by countries that use simple fishing techniques and are unable to utilise their entire economic fishing zones.
The goal is to set the tax high enough to deter offshore overfishing and make it easier for Ghana, and in the future other coastal African countries, to take advantage of the stocks off their shores in a sustainable manner.
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