The Second West Africa Task Force meeting has taken place in Accra, Ghana on 11-12 April 2016. The six Task Force member countries of Benin, Côte D’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo attended the meeting and, building on existing agreements for information sharing within the Fisheries Committee for West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), made significant commitments to share information on fishing vessels licensed by Task Force countries.
Per Erik Bergh, Stop Illegal Fishing, welcomed this news ‘we have seen through our experiences with the FISH-I Africa Task Force that the sharing of license lists between countries makes a real difference in identifying illegal activity and in increasing compliance within a region. We look forward to seeing the benefits of the cooperation being demonstrated within the West Africa Task Force.’
Mr. Seraphin Dedi, Secretary General of the FCWC, commented that ‘the West Africa Task Force is galvanising the fight against IUU fishing in West Africa. With the region working together to share information we are making it more and more difficult for the illegal operators to get away with breaking the rules and breaking our laws.’
Samuel Quaatey, Director of Fisheries, opened the meeting on behalf of Ghana stating that ‘IUU operators continue to develop innovative means of avoiding detection and arrest and so we need to be innovative in finding ways to stop them. The West Africa Task Force offers just such an approach, it is a forum where open exchange is welcomed between the member countries, fresh thinking is encouraged and technical expertise is on hand to support progress.’
Godfrey Baidoo-Tsibu, Head of MCS in Ghana emphasised the value of the West Africa Task Force ‘we welcome the opportunity to share experiences and information with colleagues from the region. It is through this exchange that we will be able to counter the activities of IUU fishers that are so detrimental to the economies of our countries.’