Madagascar. One step forward towards national interagency cooperation to fight IUU fishing.

By Stop Illegal Fishing:12th Jun, 2023:

Six years after depositing its instrument of accession to the Port State Measure Agreement (PSMA), Madagascar continues making progress towards effective implementation of port state measures to prevent vessels engaged in IUU fishing from using its ports and landing their catch. On 1-2 June 2023, about 25 representatives from relevant agencies gathered in Antananarivo with the aim to establish a formalised interagency mechanism for the implementation of port State measures, in the broader framework of port State control under the lead of Ministry for Fisheries and the Blue Economy (MPEB).

This workshop supported by the FAO under the German-funded Port State Support Project (GCP/GLO/1047/GER) built on the results of a consultation that was held in December 2022 to update the national strategy and action plan to fight IUU fishing in Madagascar. This strategy adopted a holistic approach, taking into consideration the coordinated implementation of the three international instruments of FAO, International Labour Organization (ILO) and International Maritime Organization (IMO): the 2009 FAO PSMA, the 2007 ILO Work in Fishing Convention (C188) and the 2012 IMO Cape Town Agreement (CTA).

The aim of the workshop was to identify the roles and responsibilities of the different agencies in more detail, and to identify different options for an interagency mechanism, including its anchorage within existing national structures and strategies. To support the reflections, concrete value-added examples of interagency cooperation were presented to the participants, notably to improve risk assessments of fishing vessels, as involving different agencies with different focusses and mandates can be critical in identifying cases of illegal activity. The overview of the emerging “national blue economy and ocean governance cluster” shared by the General Direction for the Blue Economy was also decisive to understand the relation between port State measures and the blue economy strategy promoted by the Malagasy government. This presentation allowed to engage discussions on the possibility to anchor a technical commission on port State measures within the cluster, thus taking advantage of an existing structure.

Building on this strengthened understanding and on preliminary discussions from the previous consultations, the participants agreed on proposals for the establishment of an interagency mechanism and on concrete next steps to advance their implementation.

Parallel to this process, for which Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) remains committed to support Madagascar, the SIF team will also work with Madagascar’s MCS actors in the respective ports to help them acquire further tools for their MCS operations. Prior to the workshop, SIF conducted visits to the ports of Antsiranana and Mahajanga to collect information on the existing MCS capacities of the regional Fisheries Monitoring Centre staff and exchanged with inspectors from the other three designated ports in Madagascar. Based on this baseline assessment, SIF will propose capacity-building measures to the different agencies. Under the two-level interagency mechanism proposed by the actors, MCS officers in the different ports will act as the operational arm of the mechanism. Strengthening their operational capacities is therefore critical to ensure the effectiveness of the mechanism and is complementary to its ongoing institutional setting-up.

 

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