New report: Regional Cooperation to stop illegal fishing

By Stop Illegal Fishing:14th Jul, 2021: FISH-i Africa · West Africa Task Force

A new report written by Stop Illegal Fishing, ‘Regional Cooperation to Stop Illegal Fishing: A Tale of Two Task Forces’, tells the story of the development and operations of two regional task forces and how they made a difference to stopping illegal fishing.

 

The first, FISH-i Africa was set up in southern and eastern Africa focusing on the Western Indian Ocean and the second, the West Africa Task Force, focuses on the Gulf of Guinea. The report details the why, where, who, how and what in respect to the task forces, it considers what they achieved and what the future holds for these unique examples of regional cooperation.

 

This report is timely, it is published as the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) launches their Regional Monitoring Control and Surveillance Centre (RMCSC) and as FISH-i is integrated into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC).  These transitions are a real endorsement of the task forces and a tribute to the systems and activities, and people who have made them happen.

 

The report showcases what worked, lessons learned, and provides a comparative analysis of the two task forces, considering their differences and similarities, and highlighting how these differences shaped the two models.

 

Elsa da Gloria Pátria, Chairperson of Stop Illegal Fishing, said, “We hope that you can share our sense of success in developing these cooperations and the significant steps made towards developing mechanisms that will, in time, stop illegal fishing.”

 

Dr. Motseki Hlatshwayo, Senior Fisheries Advisor, Southern African Development Community Secretariat, stated, ‘The development of this report provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the development and evolution of the FISH-i Africa and the West Africa Task Forces. By taking stock of their many achievements we can fully appreciate the contribution made by these two initiatives to forge new ways of working, and to overcome some of the most challenging barriers to tackling the insidious problem of IUU fishing.’

 

Seraphin Dedi Nadje, Secretary General of the FCWC, commented, ‘The West Africa Task Force has been instrumental in operationalising key FCWC commitments on sharing information and cooperating regionally to fight IUU fishing. As we develop our RMCSC we build on the solid foundation provided by the WATF processes. Our region is stronger than ever. We appreciate the continuing support of Norad in funding this cooperative mechanism and our partners at Trygg Mat Tracking and Stop Illegal Fishing who have worked with us to implement it.’

 

Sandy Davies, Stop Illegal Fishing, stated, ‘We have long known that cooperation and collaboration are key to successful efforts to stop illegal fishing. IUU fishing takes place across jurisdictions often targeting shared fish stocks and we know that illegal operators identify and utilise any systemic weaknesses. By working as a united region we can see the benefits of working together. It may not always be easy but there are tangible benefits in terms of both cost and success.’

 

‘Regional Cooperation to Stop Illegal Fishing: A Tale of Two Task Forces’ has been written by Stop Illegal Fishing, in cooperation with Trygg Mat Tracking and the FCWC. It is intended for regional and international policy makers, funding organisations, national agencies and all those interested to understanding better how the regional task force approach can help to stop illegal fishing.

 

Regional Cooperation to Stop Illegal Fishing: A Tale of Two Task Forces is available to download in English. A French version willl follow soon.

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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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Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

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Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

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