IUU Fishing meeting to build cooperation
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IUU Fishing meeting to build cooperation

Building West Africa’s fisheries management

LIBERIA: The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), in cooperation with the government of Liberia under the aegis of its National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA) will host a regional meeting of the FCWC West Africa Task Force (WATF) to end illegal fishing this week in Monrovia to continue building cooperation in West Africa’s fisheries management.

Key discussions for the three-day meeting include the staffing, initiatives and activities of the FCWC; the sustainability and operations of the RMCSC; and the updates on the regional transshipment strategy, ongoing initiatives and international instruments being implemented by Member States.

The WATF was established in 2015 under the Fisheries Intelligence and MCS Support in West Africa project funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and has operationalised key regional and international fisheries sector instruments to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

It has strengthened regional information-sharing and cooperation between countries; interagency cooperation at the national level; and facilitated region-wide enforcement actions triggered by intelligence analysis and intelligence-sharing, all while simultaneously building the FCWC region’s capacity to sustain these accomplishments.

Kickstarting Phase Three

The meeting is the first under the project’s third phase, which begun at the start of the year and will represent the sixteenth gathering of fisheries directors and heads of monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) from FCWC’s Member States, with partners and fisheries experts, to share national-level updates and discuss regional-level actions to ensure that the FCWC WATF continues to function as the region’s lead mechanism for fisheries MCS.

With a strong focus on engagement with other African regions, representatives from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the fisheries ministries of Sierra Leone and Cameroon, and the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) will be attending the meeting.

“This meeting holds significance in several important ways. Firstly, the attendance of reps from our sister organisations and neighbouring countries is a strong demonstration that the FCWC WATF partnerships, influence and collaborations are growing.

“Secondly, the renewal of the project for a third phase is an indication that our funding, institutional and implementation partners recognise the value that FCWC WATF has and the impact of the change it has delivered region-wide.

“Lastly, the new areas that the workplan is tackling verifies that although the region stands on its hard-won accomplishments, there remains more work to collectively tackle the challenges to our fisheries sector,” said FCWC Secretary-General, Dr Antoine Gaston Djihinto.

The meeting is especially significant in the implementation of the project’s third phase, as it follows through on plans to sustain the FCWC’s establishment of a Regional MCS Centre (RMCSC), and the WATF’s creation of a regional online communications platform, linchpins of the region’s collaboration and cooperation in fisheries.

Other noteworthy observers of the meeting include representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), United States MSAFE Africa, Skylight, Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Friends of the Nation Ghana (FoN Ghana), and Hen Mpoano.



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