West Africa Task Force
The West Africa Task Force was formed in 2015 to provide a regional approach to fisheries enforcement. West Africa is endowed with abundant fisheries resources making this region a hot spot for illegal fishing operators. National efforts by individual countries to strengthen their fisheries management systems have resulted in improved monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of some fisheries. However, many of the regions commercial fish species are migratory and the national and foreign fishing operators that target them follow these stocks, so effectively tackling illegal fishing requires a regional cooperation.
The six member countries of the Fisheries Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) – Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo are the founding members of the West Africa Task Force.
The West Africa Task Force is supporting regional cooperation in order to identify, track, gather evidence and mount enforcement and prosecution actions against illegal fishing operators. It does this by:
- Supporting a case from the point where intelligence is received to enforcement prosecution of perpetrators,
- Sharing information and cooperate effectively,
- Tracking vessels and identify possible illegal fishing activity,
- Identifying the illegal fishers and eliminating illegal and ‘risk’ vessels from license lists and registers,
- Improving understanding of the fishing operations to inform MCS operations and strengthen MCS capacity,
- Cooperating and harmonizing with other countries, regions, organisations and initiatives; and
- Building the foundations for long term regional and sustainable MCS structures in the region.
Find out more about the West Africa Task Force here.
The Task Force model has been developed based on lesson learning from the FISH-i Africa Task Force in the Western Indian Ocean region. The West Africa Task Force is coordinated by the FCWC Secretariat, Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT) and Stop Illegal Fishing. The Norwegian Development Agency (Norad) is supporting this partnership through a project called ‘The Fisheries Intelligence and MCS support in West Africa’.
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