Progress was made again in the regional fight against illegal fishing in Lomé during the Togo National Working Group Meeting that took place from the 14th-16th May 2018.
Interagency cooperation is widely recognized as an essential step member countries must take to successfully combat illegal fishing in the FCWC region. While there is cooperation taking place informally, the discussions that took place during the meeting in Togo explored the formalization of such cooperation between agencies in the country. Mr Kossi Ahoedo, Head of MCS at the Togo Directorate of Fisheries, guided representatives from the agencies to use their prior experiences in illegal fishing cases, to discuss challenges working with other agencies and to offer their expertise in advising the way forward.
One of the significant topics during discussions was how to complement the role of the Prefecture Maritime, an umbrella structure that deals with joint maritime operations. Although the Prefecture is efficiently and effectively responding to crises, routine information sharing and risk analysis are still required and it is hoped that the NWG will fulfill this role.
At the end of the three-day meeting, Togo committed to greater cooperation around the inspection of reefers, in particular by improved sharing of vessel and cargo details between relevant agencies.