IntroductionImplemented through the project "Fisheries Intelligence and MCS (Monitoring, Control and Surveillance) support West Africa" in collaboration with the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), the West Africa Task force (WATF) is a regional working group enabling its Member States that are Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria, to act together to end IUU fishing and crimes associated with fishing activities.
The WATF is supported by technical partners namely the Secretariat of FCWC, Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT), the Norwegian consultancy firm NFDS specialised in fisheries and the Pan-African working group Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) and also funded by NORAD, the Norwegian Agency for Development.
ObjectiveThrough the project "Fisheries Intelligence and MCS (Monitoring, Control and Surveillance) support West Africa", the WATF is one of the tools of FCWC meant for the operationalization of the policies adopted in the sub region for an effective governance of fisheries resources in West Africa but also and especially for strengthening the capacity of these Member States in terms of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) for an effective fight against fisheries crimes and IUU fishing in particular.
WATF’s impactThe regional cooperation promoted by FCWC is presented as the effective solution for the sustainable management of shared resources and in particular for the fight against IUU fishing. Also, FCWC which Member States form the WATF, advocates the sharing of fisheries information and intelligence between national agencies in charge of fisheries as a crucial and decisive approach in the fight against IUU fishing. This inter-agency cooperation, often latent and sometimes non-existent or less exploited in some States, could promote the activities of illegal operators.
At the WATF’s second meeting in April 2016 in Accra, Ghana, Member States renewed their commitment to cooperate with each other by sharing more information on the fishing vessels authorized by Member States in this region, including the list of fishing licenses issued in each FCWC’s Member State. They also committed themselves to better structure their National Working Groups for a genuine inter-agency collaboration while strengthening the capacity of the fisheries sector’s stakeholders in their respective States.
All these efforts aim at curbing, or better still, eradicate the activities of illegal operators which cause enormous damage to the West African States’ economies.
For more information on the specific activities of the project "Fisheries Intelligence and MCS (Monitoring, Control and Surveillance) support West Africa", please click here