FISH-i Africa is a partnership of eight East African countries – Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia and Tanzania – that brings together national enforcement authorities, regional organisations and international technical and legal experts to combat large-scale illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean through information-sharing and regional cooperation.
Illegal fishers have been successfully exploiting the fish-rich waters of the Western Indian Ocean for years, taking advantage of the region’s weak governance and limited operational and enforcement capacity.
FISH-i Africa was established by Stop Illegal Fishing in 2012 and has bought a new approach to stopping illegal fishing in the region. The five founding members Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles, and Tanzania soon grew to seven as the benefits of a unified regional approach were realised. In 2015 Somalia was unanimously accepted into the Task Force, further extending the reach of the cooperation.
FISH-i Africa enables the sharing of real-rime information and intelligence and coordinates actions against vessels suspected of operating illegally. Increased knowledge about the illegal operators, their methods and techniques means that enforcement capacity can be targeted more effectively. Countries are no longer acting alone and this has led to significant results as illegal vessels are identified, their activities are monitored and increased compliance is resulting.
FISH-i Africa continues to expand its reach and improve the mechanisms and tools that are necessary to tackle the problem of systematically organised illegal fishing in the area which is all too often connected to elements of fisheries crime such as money laundering, tax evasion, labour and human rights abuses as well as smuggling activities.
Peter Sinon, former Minister of Natural Resources, Seychelles – ‘The new element about FISH-i Africa is that before, we were ‘talking the talk’, acting individually, but shooting in the dark, we were not seeing the whole picture. The illegal fishers would play us one against the other, be clean in one port and illegal in another. This is not any more possible or acceptable – as we have acted against it.’
Geofrey Nanyaro, former Chairperson, Stop Illegal Fishing – ‘FISH-i Africa – I would say from my experience in the field of 39 years – is the cheapest but the most effective method I ever saw, anywhere. You know exactly where the illegal operator is, you know his next move. Before, it was hunting, and you hunted without knowing where you were going to end, with meagre resources, millions of dollars were used without any results. But now we are getting results almost cost free.’
Find out more about FISH-i Africa at www.fish-i-network.org
1-5 February 2021 Rome, Italy For more information go to: http://www.fao.org/about/meetings/cofi/documents-cofi34/en/
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