FCWC West Africa Task Force held Fourteenth Regional Meeting in Togo.

By Stop Illegal Fishing:15th Jun, 2023:

The West Africa Task Force (WATF) of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) held their fourteenth Task Force meeting in Lomé, Togo, on the 7 – 9 June 2023, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (MEMPPC).

The three-day technical meeting shared national updates and discussed regional cooperation and collaboration in MCS enforcement. Representatives of partners attending the meeting included the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International MCS Network (IMCSN), and Skylight, in addition to the technical team members of Stop Illegal Fishing and TM-Tracking. Representatives from the fisheries ministries of Sierra Leone and Cameroon were also present.

The FCWC member States discussed the FCWC regional strategy to combat illegal transshipment at sea considering the recent FAO guidelines on transshipment; shared FCWC’s recent institutional priorities; and discussed the project priorities for the development of a Phase 3 of Norad support for the Fisheries Intelligence and MCS support in West Africa project that supports the WATF.

Participants of the WATF recommended that the technical team have a closer look at transshipment to understand the status of in-port transhipment activities in the region and the potential risks that this kind of transhipment involves – depending on the findings, this could be an aspect to consider in updating the strategy of the FCWC. Such considerations could be coupled with a review of the strategy in the light of the voluntary guidelines on transshipment, which were approved by the FAO  in 2022, after the FCWC strategy had already been adopted.

The WATF also made recommendations and requests on priorities that could be addressed in a third phase of the project, as the second phase is now coming to an end. These requests will form the basis of a technical proposal for funding by NORAD, which is currently being drafted.

In support of the unity that FCWC stands for which shows in bringing the west African countries together to fight IUU fishing, Dr. Amadou Tall from ECOWAS stated during the meeting: “Building bridges rather than walls has given visibility to the work of the WATF.”

 

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