2019 FCWC Conference of Ministers

By Stop Illegal Fishing:31st Dec, 2019: West Africa Task Force

The annual Conference of the Ministers of the Fisheries Committee of the West and Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) was hosted by the Republic of Benin in Cotonou on the 13 December 2019 and was preceded by a two-day meeting of the Advisory and Coordinating Committee (ACC).

The ACC meeting reviewed the progress made since the previous Conference of Ministers, developing recommendations for the Ministers that would form part of the future work plan. The ACC was attended by Directors and Deputy Directors of Fisheries from the six FCWC Member States (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo) as well as partners supporting the work of the FCWC. Partners represented included the Economic Community of West African States, the European Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, Stop Illegal Fishing and Trygg Mat Tracking.

The Conference of Ministers meeting was opened by Benin’s Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, Mr. Gaston Dossouhoui. He expressed his concern on the worrying depletion of fishery resources in the face of the increased needs of populations, saying “Our fisheries deserve better policy for their management. The regional cooperation promoted by the FCWC is one of the effective solutions in the sustainable management of shared resources, in particular the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.”

To assist with focusing efforts under the FCWC, working themes are adopted annually. The theme of 2019 was focused on fisheries and broader maritime concerns, with the theme for 2020 focusing on ‘Joint actions for sustainable small-scale fisheries in West Africa‘. Small-scale fisheries in the FCWC area are vitally important as a source of income and food and nutrition for the sub-region’s growing population.

FCWC Secretary-General Seraphin Dedi stated “Through our 2020 focus on the small-scale sector we would like to make the necessary advocacy for fisheries in our national development policies and strategy, to mobilize actors and the resources (human, technical and financial) available for the implementation of activities that could impact the sustainability of the resource as well as the living conditions of our communities which depend directly on it.”

Representatives of small-scale fishers’ organisations who attended the meeting expressed their gratitude for the recognition of the importance of small-scale fisheries and welcomed work to improve the sub-sector.

Initiatives to combat IUU fishing were also reviewed and progressed during the ACC meeting, with a draft Protocol for the Establishment and Operations of the Regional Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Centre approved.

Each year the Conference of Ministers in hosted by the Chair State, which is rotated annually in alphabetical order. Cote d’Ivoire accepted the role of Chair for 2020, emphasising the importance of the FCWC’s work.

 

Read more about the FCWC focus on small-scale fisheries here.

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