Côte d’Ivoire: interagency meeting focus on PSMA

By Stop Illegal Fishing:10th Mar, 2020: Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing · West Africa Task Force

Côte d’Ivoire: Representatives from 11 agencies participated in a two-day interagency West Africa Task Force National Working Group meeting.

Opening the meeting, the Minister of Fisheries Technical Advisor acknowledged the relevance of interagency cooperation and the harmonisation of national laws to meet international instruments especially the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) now that Côte d’Ivoire is a party.

The NWG has been established to strengthen interagency cooperation and collaboration to combat and deter illegal fishing in Côte d’Ivoire. Practical implementation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) at a national and regional level was discussed. Improved communication and information sharing were identified as priority areas to advance cooperation between agencies. In addition, the need to formalise cooperation through the development of Memorandum of Understanding between agencies was highlighted.

Details of risk assessment tools discussed at the West Africa Task Force risk assessment workshop were considered for use to evaluate risk levels of fishing vessels and reefers seeking port access. Per Erik Bergh, Stop Illegal Fishing Coordinator, commented, “Abidjan is a major port in the Gulf of Guinea and plays a leading role in the import and export of fish including the processing of tuna for the European market. Effective implementation of port State measures will bring benefits not just for Cote d’Ivoire but for the wider region. Shutting down ports to illegal operators is the most effective route we have to stopping illegal fishing.”

The West Africa Task Force brings together the six member countries of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) – Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo – to tackle illegal fishing and fisheries crime. The Task Force is facilitated by the FCWC Secretariat and supported by a Technical Team that includes Trygg Mat Tracking and Stop Illegal Fishing with funding from Norad. By actively cooperating, by sharing information and by facilitating national interagency working groups the West Africa Task Force is working together to stop illegal fishing.

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One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

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