The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) through its Regional Monitoring Control and Surveillance Centre (RMCSC), and in collaboration with the navies and fisheries Ministries of la Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, have concluded a successful 3-day joint fishery surveillance operation conducted from the 25-27th July 2023.
The enforcement operation was organized to target industrial and artisanal vessels violating the fishing laws and regulations of both countries and was coordinated by the RMCSC with primary control of day-to-day operations with input from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. Technical and operational support for this compliance joint patrol was provided by a consortium of partners including TMT, Skylight and Global Fishing Watch of the Joint Analytical Cell (JAC) and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA). These partners set up the Joint Operation Team (JOT) at the RMCSC to provide pre-operation, live and post-operation support. The technical support provided included intelligence related to areas of interest and vessels of interest to guide the movement of the navies’ assets during the operation. Representatives of the Liberia’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Authority (NaFAA), the Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) Zone F and the West Africa Regional Maritime Security Centre (CRESMAO) participated in the operation as observers.
Although the patrol was held during the closed season for Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana’s artisanal sector, seven (07) canoes were arrested by the Ghana Navy fishing illegally near the Ghana-Togo border. The canoes were impounded, and the fishermen were processed for court and were awaiting prosecution. No violations were recorded in Cote d’Ivoire over the period of the patrol.
Commenting on the operation, FCWC Secretary-General Dr. Gaston Antoine Djihinto thanked all stakeholders for their dedication and commitment. “I want to express my sincere gratitude to Norad through TMT for its financial and technical support, and all the partners including EFCA who took part in the operation. I also address my thanks to the observers of Liberia, CRESMAO, MMCC Zone F, for their precious contribution. To all stakeholders, thank you for your unwavering support,” he said.
The joint operation is the second bilateral fisheries-focused joint patrol in the FCWC region, following Operation Gatorwu, the FCWC region’s pilot joint surveillance operation between Togo and Benin in December 2021.