Port State Measures Agreement in focus at Nigerian interagency meeting

By Stop Illegal Fishing:18th Nov, 2019: Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing · West Africa Task Force

Representatives from eight Nigerian agencies participated in the fourth meeting of the Nigerian National Working Group (NWG) of the West Africa Task Force to stop illegal fishing.

 

Director Of Fisheries Resources, Dr. Umeh Umoh welcomed representatives from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Port Authority, Federal Ministry Of Justice, Police, Marine Police, and the National Aquatic Resources Quarantine Service.

 

The NWG has been established to strengthen interagency cooperation and collaboration to combat and deter illegal fishing in Nigerian waters. An important focus of the meeting was on building stakeholder awareness on the benefits for Nigeria in becoming party to the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) and in the effective implementation of the PSMA at a national and regional level.

 

Per Erik Bergh of Stop Illegal Fishing commented, “Port controls are critical in stopping illegally caught fish getting access to markets. For Nigeria this is especially important, not only are they are major coastal, port and flag State they are also a massive market State importing large amounts of small pelagic fish annually. Their contribution in the African fight against illegal fishing is significant.”

 

The meeting provided an opportunity for the relevant agencies to review and consider current cooperative processes for pre-port entry checks, inspection procedures and action against non-compliance. JD Kotze, Stop Illegal Fishing PSMA expert said, “Under the Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing (PSM-SIF) project Stop Illegal Fishing has been working with fisheries officers and multi-agency teams in Ghana, Madagascar and Mozambique. It is great to have the opportunity to share our experiences and lesson learning with officials in Nigeria. The reality of on the ground implementation has many challenges, and it’s important that countries see both the benefits and challenges of committing to being party to an agreement such as the PSMA.”

 

There was also agreement to widen the mandatory use of Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking on fishing vessels operating throughout the Nigerian EEZ by making this requirement a licensing condition. A sensitisation programme run by NIMASA to ensure that fishing vessel Captains input correct vessel details on their AIS will support this. In addition a Nigeria wide register of industrial fishing vessels will be introduced to assist in monitoring, control and surveillance efforts and to feed into the FCWC Regional Record of Vessels.

 

The West Africa Task Force brings together the six member countries of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) – Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo – to tackle illegal fishing and fisheries crime. The Task Force is facilitated by the FCWC Secretariat and supported by a Technical Team that includes Trygg Mat Tracking and Stop Illegal Fishing with funding from Norad. By actively cooperating, by sharing information and by facilitating national interagency working groups the West Africa Task Force is working together to stop illegal fishing.

 

The meeting took place in Lagos, Nigeria on November 4th-8th 2019.

 

 

 

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