The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) held the 13th session of its Conference of Ministers meeting from 15 – 17 December 2021 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, in-person and online.
The fisheries sector Ministers of Benin and Cote d’Ivoire, as well as representatives of the Ministers from Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Togo attended the meeting organized on the theme “Using innovative technology to increase oversight of safe, fair and legal fishing.” Representatives of partner organizations including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT), Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), African Union (AU), Hen Mpoano, also participated in the session.
FCWC Secretary-General, Seraphin Dedi, spoke during the Ministerial Session soliciting Member States’ cooperation to achieve the region’s ambition for a blue economy that respects resource management standards. He stated that innovative technology would also allow Member States “[…] to help us eliminate forced labor in the fishing segment, reduce the number of accidents and fatalities; and, the improvement of safety and transparency, working and living conditions in the fisheries and aquaculture value chain.”
Outgoing President of the FCWC Conference of Ministers, M. Gaston Dossouhoui, delivered his speech noting that “countries must work together [..] with partners to strengthen [..] capacity for surveillance. Institutional relations must also be maintained and strengthened.” During the handover ceremony, incoming President of FCWC Conference of Ministers, M. Sidi Toure, received the President pennant from the outgoing President Dossouhoui, and pledged to do all in his power to build upon and strengthen the existing regional cooperation.
The conference concluded with the successful adoption of the 2022 workplan, 2022 budget, 2022 annual report, including the protocols for the regional observer program and joint patrol operations; the adoption of the workplans for the regional working group on aquaculture; the standard operating protocols for the Regional MCS centre (RMCSC); and
The next conference is expected to be held in Accra, Ghana.