Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region collaborates to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

By Stop Illegal Fishing:10th Nov, 2020: FISH-i Africa

The fifth consultative workshop for the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region took place on 27-28 October 2020 in conjunction with the eighth meeting of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)/ FISH-i Africa Task Force on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

 

The virtual meeting was organised by the SADC Secretariat and hosted in partnership with the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC), World Bank SWIOFish Project, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF). The meeting serves as a platform to consult with regional partners on regional collaborative mechanisms which will allow for effective cooperation in the management of shared fisheries resources in the EA-SA-IO region.

 

Opening the meeting Dr. Motseki Hlatshwayo, SADC Fisheries Technical Advisor stated, “The opportunity to meet and work together is extremely valuable. Regional engagement needs impetus as well as a platform for dialogue.”

 

The meeting reviewed progress of the implementation of the SADC Regional Plan of Action to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate IUU fishing, which includes operationalisation of the SADC Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC). Whilst progress is being made in establishing processes and plans the development of the MCSCC is on hold until sufficient SADC member States add their signatures to the Charter.

 

Current studies and future initiatives and on transparency in the region were discussed with presentations given by Sven Bierman of FiTI, Jérôme Michelet and Courtney Farthing of Global Fishing Watch.

 

Per Erik Bergh, Stop Illegal Fishing, speaking at the meeting, commented, “This is an important forum to bring key actors from the region together with a focus on how best to work together and how best to end illegal fishing in our region. As COVID-19 brings new challenges to fisheries officers working on the frontline we must work harder and smarter to identify and act against 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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