The West Africa Task Force (WATF) of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) held a two-day technical training session on 15 – 16 March 2022, to support Côte d’Ivoire’s inspections of reefer vessels, and to improve its implementation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA).
Additionally, as part of the FCWC’s commitment to capacity building and experience-sharing in the sub-region, a team of Togolese and Beninese inspectors joined the group of Ivorian fisheries operators and inspectors for the hybrid session.
The first day comprised a preliminary mentoring session led by TM-Tracking (TMT) Port Control consultant, Eric Mostert, at the Côte d’Ivoire Directorate of Fisheries, covering pre-inspection requirements, risk analysis, procedures for inspections, and post-inspection debriefing. The WATF Technical Team provided further support during the breakout session as participants practiced due diligence and analysis of advance requests for entry into port (AREPs). Participants used sample vessel documents and tested the new Vessel Viewer application developed by TMT and Global Fishing Watch application to assess vessel histories. A set of monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) Practitioners Introductory Guides developed by TMT and the International MCS Network, and previously developed manuals were distributed to participants, and used to reinforce their baseline knowledge of the sector.
The second day comprised a visit to the Port of Abidjan to carry out live an inspection of a Russian vessel, AURORA, using the WATF Technical Team’s real-time risk analysis and tools, and applying the pre-inspection procedures discussed on the preceding day.
Commenting on the session, FCWC Secretary-General, Seraphin Dedi stated “Abidjan is a significant port in the FCWC region for the transport, transhipment and processing of tuna, and the offloading of small pelagics and demersal fish for local consumption and regional trade. Improving inspection procedures and providing inspectors with access to reliable information to identify high-risk vessels and prioritise inspection resources will help to protect our fisheries and fight IUU fishing.” The West Africa Task Force (WATF) was established in 2015 under the Fisheries Intelligence and MCS Support in West Africa project funded by Norad. The Task Force is facilitated by the FCWC Secretariat and supported by a Technical Team that includes TM-Tracking (TMT) and Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF).