Lusophone Countries Commit to Cooperation to Fight IUU Fishing

By Stop Illegal Fishing:3rd Dec, 2021: Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing

Nine Portuguese-speaking countries met to discuss the challenges in combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing at a side-event of the Growing Blue International Conference, held in Mozambique on 18-19 November 2021.

 

The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) Member States are Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Timor-Leste.

Lusophone Countries Commit to Cooperation to Fight IUU Fishing

Discussion between CPLP members focussed on the exchange of experiences among country representatives, and identification of their needs and priorities to cooperate in strengthening their capacities in combating IUU fishing. The session also provided a forum to raise awareness of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Prevent and Eliminate IUU Fishing (PSMA), the first binding multilateral agreement specifically aimed at IUU fishing.

 

The CPLP Cooperation Director, Manuel Clarote Lapão, who participated in the debate, noted the significant size of the combined CPLP ocean area, stating, “As a whole, it comprises more than 7.5 million km2 – efforts should be concentrated to, for example, increase investment in new technologies that make it possible combat illegal fishing and improve maritime safety in areas under the jurisdiction of Member States.” He also urged CPLP Member States not yet party to the PSMA to do so in the best possible timeframe.”

 

Dr Matthew Camilleri, Leader of the FAO Fisheries Global and Regional Processes Team, explained the benefits of the PSMA as a potent and cost-effective tool to combat IUU fishing, whereby foreign vessels engaging in IUU fishing are denied entry and use of ports. He also presented an overview of the assistance that FAO provides to developing States, through its Global Capacity Development Programme, to implement the agreement and complementary international instruments. In the last five years, as a result of this programme supported by several donors, FAO has supported 48 countries through the implementation of 13 projects that, cumulatively, mean an investment in excess of USD 20,000,000.

 

The experiences and challenges of implementing port State measures were shared in a presentation by Per Erik Bergh, Stop Illegal Fishing. Titled ‘Risk assessment, denial of port entry and use as a multi-agency tool to combat IUU fishing’ the PowerPoint drew on the Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing initiative’s support to Mozambique, Madagascar and Ghana.

Per Erik Bergh: Risk assessment, denial of port entry and use as a multi-agency tool to combat IUU fishing POWERPOINT

Mr Bergh commented, “The PSMA is a powerful and inexpensive tool. We have been working with our national partners to really understand where support is needed and to develop effective tools and procedures to embed best practice in implementing the PSMA. An important area is the risk assessment process used to determine whether a vessel has or is likely to have been involved in illegal fishing.” The benefits of a systematic approach and the need for cooperation between national agencies were showcased.

 

The meeting agreed to explore options for the establishment of a cooperative network of Lusophone countries to strengthen their capacities to combat IUU fishing. Leonid Santana Chimarizene, Mozambique’s Director of Fisheries welcomed the agreement to develop a Lusophone network to combat IUU. “All cooperative mechanisms are welcomed in the fight against IUU. We know that the illegal operators rely on gaps in our information, surveillance and communication. Anything we can do to plug these gaps will strengthen our response to IUU fishing nationally, regionally and internationally.”

 

The ‘Combatting IUU fishing’ session was organised by the National Directorate of Operations of the Ministry of the Sea, Inland Water and Fisheries (MIMAIP) of Mozambique with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Secretariat of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) as part of the Growing Blue International Conference.

 

 

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