December 2007

Unsustainable & Illegal Exploitation of African Oceans

The Kilifi Declaration of Intent, December 2007.

On the 6th and 7th of December 2007 a meeting was held at Kilifi, Kenya that was attended by civil society organisations from Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Seychelles, Mauritius, South Africa and Namibia. The purpose of the meeting, organised by the Institute for Security Studies, was to discuss the social and environmental crisis caused by illegal and unsustainable exploitation of marine resources in Africa’s territorial waters and to explore ways in which civil society can work together to find practical solutions to avert this crisis.

As a consequence of the meeting in Kilifi, we, the representatives of the organisations listed below, unanimously decided to produce a declaration of intent.

To this end, we assert that:

• Over-fishing and the destructive exploitation of marine resources for commercial gain are
occurring with impunity and at an alarming rate in the territorial waters of African

• Over-fishing and the destructive exploitation of marine resources are severely threatening
the rights and culture of indigenous fishing communities and people dependent on marine
and coastal resources to earn a living in many African countries.

• Marine bio-diversity and critical marine habitats, including coral reefs, are seriously
threatened in many African countries, and as a result the continent is experiencing
collapsed fish populations, a growing list of endangered species and fewer intact marine

• Existing state capacity and political will at both national and regional levels are failing to
adequately protect marine resources from illegal and unsustainable exploitation in many
African countries.

• The governance of marine resources in many African countries is undermined by a lack
of accountability and transparency.

• Coastal communities in many African countries are not adequately involved in policy
decisions relating to the exploitation of marine resources, and these communities are
placed in a marginalised and vulnerable position as a result.

• There is a critical need for civil society in Africa to help improve the governance of
marine resources and to ensure local development and marine conservation.

• If the current trend in over-fishing and marine resource depletion continues unabated in
Africa, it will lead to severe economic, environmental and social collapse.

Given this state of affairs, we therefore determine the following:

1. To establish a network of African civil society groups who will work collectively to
raise awareness nationally, regionally and internationally about the impacts of overfishing
and the destructive exploitation of marine resources in Africa.

2. That this network will proactively engage governments and special interest groups,
such as the media, consumer interest groups, the fishing industry at large, tourism
bodies and other stakeholders in order to find effective solutions to reduce over-fishing
and the unsustainable exploitation of marine resources.

3. That the work of this network prioritises the needs of indigenous coastal communities
and strives to ensure that such communities are meaningfully involved in key
decision-making processes and their views are conveyed at national, regional and
international levels.

4. That the network and its members commit to take appropriate and prompt action to
prevent, deter and eradicate over-fishing, illegal fishing and the rapid depletion of
marine resources and to ensure that African marine resources are preserved for future

In recognition for the urgent need to work on these issues, a further and expanded meeting for concerned civil society organisations will be held no latter than August 2008. The primary objective of this meeting will be to formalise the African network of civil society organisations and agree on the immediate steps to be taken by this network. It was agreed in Kilifi that the Institute for Security Studies will be responsible for organising the next meeting and will also provide a comprehensive stakeholder survey published prior to this event.

An interim steering committee comprising participants from Mauritius, Kenya, Seychelles,
Tanzania, South Africa and Namibia has been established to oversee the completion of the stakeholder survey and provide recommendations on the purpose and organisation of our next meeting.

The following people and organisations present this Kilifi Declaration of Intent:

1. Ali Shebwana Bwana
Kenya Marine Forum, Kenya.
2. Maximino Costumado
Centre for Public Integrity, Mozambique.
3. John Grobler
Independent Journalist, Namibia
4. Rashid Haji
Central Coordinating Committee Mtang'ata Management Area, Tanga region,
5. Vassen Kauppaymuthoo
Kalipso, Mauritius
6. Joseph Ferunzi Kayemba
Seafarers Union of Kenya
7. Emmanuel Massawe
Lawyers Environmental Action Team, Tanzania.
8. Shaheen Moolla
Feike, South Africa
9. Fr Ernest Mutua
Catholic Church, Kenya
10. Andrew Mwangura
Seafarers Assistance Programme, Kenya
11. Albert Napier
Apostleship of the Seas, Seychelles
12. Nixon Otieno
Action Aid International, Kenya
13. Ken Opala
African Investigative News Service, Kenya.
14. Carsten Pedersen
Masifundise, South Africa
15. Sibylle Riedmiller
Tanzanian Dynamite Fishing Monitoring Network, Tanzania.
16. André Standing
Institute for Security Studies, South Africa.
17. James Terjanian
International Committee for the Development of Peoples (CISP), Kenya.
18. Transparency International, Kenya
19. Paul Tuda
Costal Oceans Research and Development Indian Ocean (CORDIO), Kenya
20. Jean Tancred Vacher
Indian Ocean Seafarers Welfare Association, Mauritius.
21. Hennie van Vuuren
Institute for Security Studies, South Africa
22. Nico Waldeck
Masifundise, South Africa
23. Lugazo Zuberi
USAID funded Sustainable Environmental Management Through Mariculture
Activities Project (SEMMA), Tanzania

Further information:
For further information on both the Kilifi Declaration of Intent and the regional civil society
network, please contact:

Dr. André Standing
Institute for Security Studies
Cape Town office
Tel: +27 21 461 7211


ECOP-marine HOME