The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) together with the support of the Government of Benin, and chairmanship of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Togo, organized its 12th Ministerial Conference from 11 – 13 December 2019, in Cotonou, Benin under the theme “Joint actions for secure and sustainable small-scale fisheries in West Africa”.
Directors of Fisheries from the six FCWC Member States (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo), Representatives of financial and technical partners including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation Among African States Bordering the Atlantic Ocean (ATLAFCO), the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT), Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), resource persons and representatives of various national agencies of Benin also participated in the ACC session to discuss collaboration in fisheries management, and review the FCWC’s 2019 Activity Report, 2020 workplan and 2020 budget before adoption. The 2019 Activity Report gave an overview of the FCWC’s implementation actions over the year, highlighting the key activities in the Norad-funded Fisheries Intelligence and MCS Support in West Africa” project and the European Union-funded Improved Regional Fisheries Governance (PESCAO) project.
Speaking on the FCWC 2020’s themeduring the Ministerial Session, FCWC Secretary-General Seraphin Dedi stated “through this theme we would like to make the necessary advocacy for fisheries in our national development policies and strategy, to mobilize actors and the resources (human, technical and financial) available for the implementation of activities that could impact the sustainability of the resource as well as the living conditions of our communities which depend directly on it. [..] We are hopeful that this new partnership discussion with JICA will enable us to contribute to the resources management and aquaculture development.“
In his opening speech, Benin’s Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, Mr. Gaston Dossouhoui expressed his concern on the worrying depletion of fishery resources in the face of the increased needs of our populations saying that it deserves better policy for their management. “The regional cooperation promoted by the FCWC is one of the effective solutions in the sustainable management of shared resources, in particular the fight against IUU fishing. [..] this 12th Conference of Ministers will allow us to make significant advances in the face of issues related to the sustainable management of fishery resources and the challenges. [..] We are therefore delighted that ECOWAS is considering working with the FCWC frame to improve the Committee’s institutional decision making process and FCWC becoming a technical arm to implement the newly developed strategy in fisheries and aquaculture development for the West Africa region.”
The conference concluded with the successful adoption Annual report 2019 including the Protocol for the Establishment and Operations of the Regional Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Center under the PESCAO project, the 2020 workplan, 2020 budget, and a special vote of thanks to FCWC partners such as European Union, FAO and NORAD.