Monrovia, 22 September 2021
Liberian fisheries authorities reiterated their commitment to ratify the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Cape Town Agreement for the safety of fishing vessels and 2007 international Labour Organisation (ILO) C188 Work in Fishing Convention to end illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Liberia.
The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) organised in Monrovia, Liberia, a 2-day workshop with the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts to engage Liberia’s fisheries decision makers in an active discussion so as to identify the main obstacles to be overcome on the road to ratification of these international treaties.
Participants could discuss with experts from the IMO, ILO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to encapsulate how to best tackle the fight against IUU fishing through a coordinated implementation of the Cape Town Agreement, C188 Convention and FAO Port State Measures Agreement.
They could also interact with the Environmental Justice Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the EU IUU Coalition to identify in the best way forward to lift of the EU yellow card through the implementation of these three treaties.
Seraphin DEDI, Secretary General of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and facilitator of the meeting, in his introductory remarks stated that this two days’ workshop, aims to inform participants on the international instruments that strengthen maritime governance at regional and national level, specifically the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (the Port State Measures Agreement, or PSMA), the International Maritime Organization’s Cape Town Agreement (CTA), along with the International Labour Organization’s Work in Fishing Convention No. 188 (C188), for needful action to be taken for ratification and implementation
Mrs Emma Glassco, Director General of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), declared that this meeting comes at a timely moment, as we have been engaged in strengthening our fisheries governance, enforcement and compliance to our legal framework as well as international treaties. This will ensure decent working conditions of all fishers, upholding fishers’ safety at sea, and a coordinated approach to increase the involvement of relevant stakeholders in the maritime domain to ensure legal catch from the net to the port. These steps are essential in the fight against illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing. With international instruments like PSMA, CTA, and the C188, we will need a universal design to eliminate IUU Fishing.
Mr Cagri Kucukyildiz of IMO could recall that “the 2012 Cape Town Agreement is the only missing pillar for safe and sustainable fisheries, which would not only bring internationally binding regulatory framework for fishing vessel safety but also contribute to combatting IUU fishing, forced labour and environmental threats to oceans emanating from illegal fishing practices.”
While the safety of seafarers has been protected by an international treaty since 1914, fishers are still waiting for the same level of protection more than a century after. The entry into force of the Cape Town Agreement could finally resolve this long-lasting injustice.
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