PSM-SIF provides remote mentoring support for in-port inspections

By Stop Illegal Fishing:23rd Nov, 2020: Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing

Innovative implementation of body cameras with live streaming capabilities and online presence are being used during inspections to overcome the COVID-19 restrictions. This has enabled Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing (PSM-SIF) project countries to continue progress with the implementation of the PSMA. This alternative method may make a permanent change for the future.

 

The outbreak of COVID-19 and its rapid spread across the world has made work in the fisheries sector very complex. Major restrictions on movement and human physical contact, and the lack of personal protective equipment for inspectors has made monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) work challenging. The need to enable work activities to continue led SIF to test new technology to enable us to continue working with the Project countries.

 

The use of the cameras allows key experts to assist authorities in the target countries with regular inspections. The inspections are now recorded and available to be used as case studies for training. Recordings may be used as evidence if any transgressions are found or when evidence to support illegalities is seized.

 

This working methodology is expected to continue long after the pandemic as it saves travel time and costs. The use of the body camera has the potential to:

  • Reduce complaints against officials.
  • Lessen violent confrontations.
  • Reduce opportuities for corruption.
  • Get assistance to officers in need.
  • Provide a blow by blow record of an event or critical incident.
  • Collect unbiased evidence.
  • Enhance the accuracy of a report, statement or witness testimony.
  • Assist in an evaluation of an official’s performance.
  • Recorded footage will assist training.
  • Review crime and incident scenes.

 

The use of remote body cameras has allowed us to support the inspectors from our offices – and to participate in discussions on conducting inspections and deciding on what action to take when violations are identified.

 

Alex Sabah, Ports Task Force Ghana, said, “We are delighted that the PSM-SIF mentoring programme has been able to continue during the Covid-19 pandemic. This on the job support is helping our officers implement port State measures through conducting thorough inspections of fishing vessels in port.”

 

JD Kotze, stated, “PSM-SIF mentoring of inspectors and providing assistance with real life inspections has been at the heart of our work to support implementation of port State measures. It enables us to develop and test procedures, understand on the ground challenges, share knowledge, and build experience. The opportunities provided by remote mentoring are significant: we can virtually assist inspections in Ghana, Madagascar and Mozambique in the same week – something we could never have managed in person!”

 

Sandy Davies, Stop Illegal Fishing, commented, “We started the year with a clear plan and activities for the implementation of the PSMA in our three focus countries, but COVID-19 presented unexpected challenges. We are excited that the remote mentoring pilot scheme has been so successful in Ghana and look forward to rolling it out fully to Madagascar and Mozambique over the coming months.”

 

Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) supported this initiative technically and financially through their work to implement port state measures to stop illegal fishing (PSM-SIF) across Africa. The Ports Task Force Ghana is supported by Stop Illegal Fishing, through the PSM-SIF initiative with funding from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the Global Programme Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Special Initiative.

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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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