SADC focus on transparency of vessel records management and fishing authorization schemes

By Stop Illegal Fishing:25th Sep, 2019: FISH-i Africa

A regional workshop organised by the Southern African Development Community, in partnership with the SWIOFish Project, Stop Illegal Fishing and WWF workshopped ideas to improve the transparency and accountability in vessel records and fishing authorisations.

With vessel identity fraud an identified component of illegal fishing activity in the Indian Ocean region, efforts to develop and improve the systematic collection, storage and sharing of vessel related information have become a priority for the region. Both the Indian Ocean Commission StarFish database and the SADC Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre will play critical roles in centralizing effort, collecting and cross-checking information and identifying anomalous or false information.

The forthcoming publication on ‘Document Verification Manual: Vessel Identity’, produced by Stop Illegal Fishing and Trygg Mat Tracking, was validated by the meeting. Produced to support efforts by coastal and port States to verify vessel identity and focus enforcement efforts on high risk fishing vessels the Manual provides practical guidance and case material for fisheries enforcement officers and allied agencies and will be available from 24th September 2019.

Speaking at the meeting, Per Erik Bergh, Stop Illegal Fishing Coordinator, commented, “Illegal fishing places a huge burden on countries in southern and eastern Africa. The checking, cross-checking and verification of vessel identity information is a key process in identifying vessels that are being operated illegally. The Document Verification manual provides a useful resource for officers in port, coastal and flag States to make sure that vessels are correctly identified and operators play by the rules.”

 

 

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