The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) participated in the Africa Nemo 23.04 joint patrol operation led by the French Navy responsible for the Atlantic Area (CECLANT) from 28 October 2023 to 3 November 2023 in the Gulf of Guinea.
The annual patrol saw the participation of the navies of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) and the interregional maritime security structure of the Yaoundé Architecture. To improve their logistics and coordination during the operation, the Yaoundé Architecture was used to hold daily briefings between CECLANT, the Inter-regional Coordination Centre (ICC), the Regional Maritime Security Centres (CRESMs), the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centres (MMCCs) and National Maritime Operation Centres (MOCs) of the participating countries and their navies.
The FCWC Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Centre (RMCSC) coordinated the intel received from the Joint Analytical Cell (specifically TMT and Global Fishing Watch) and collaborated with EFCA to carry out daily analysis, using the RVMS, Skylight and Vessel Viewer software in addition to the usual maritime domain awareness tools routinely used. Leveraging prior capacity-building activities on its use, the Gulf of Guinea Interregional Network (GoGIN)’s Yaoundé Architecture Regional Information System (YARIS) platform was used to share maritime operational events with the stakeholders on the platform.
Key outcomes of this exercise include the discovery of the fishing support vessel GOLFO DE FONSECA in the Liberian EEZ and the limited AIS usage by fishing vessels in Nigeria. Issues of possible interactions between vessels were addressed by the FCWC RMCSC team requesting member States to share their VMS data, and performing crosschecking to verify various vessel activities in the region.
The exercise was a success for the FCWC RMCSC as it continues to build partnerships with maritime security stakeholders to continue effectively supporting the FCWC member States. The exercise follows the successful conduct of a Ghana – Cote d’Ivoire joint patrol operation in 2023 toward the end of their joint fishery closed seasons, demonstrating growing joint approaches to fisheries management and MCS collaboration in the region.