Building Transparency in West Africa

High levels of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the waters off sub-Saharan Africa threaten local livelihoods and food security, national security, and marine ecosystems. With limited resources available for fisheries surveillance and enforcement, it is challenging for these coastal States to identify and prosecute the industrial fishing vessels and companies that fish illegally in their waters. Information transparency, sharing and access to high-quality fisheries intelligence can significantly enhance capacity to tackle IUU fishing, enabling authorities to clearly identify where vessels are permitted to operate and focus limited resources on monitoring and control of high-risk vessels and companies.

Through the Building Transparency in West Africa project, the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea is working with Trygg Mat Tracking through the West Africa Task Force to strengthen the Regional Fisheries Body’s capacity to share and make publicly available national and regional legal frameworks, regional conventions, vessel registers, and other relevant material, through its website and other communication platforms.

Oceans 5 is supporting Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT) to shine a light on industrial fisheries operations in and adjacent to African waters and assure coastal States have better access to, and understanding of, relevant fisheries intelligence in their waters and regions. Working in cooperation with Global Fishing Watch, the focus is on developing a comprehensive overview of fishing operations active in sub-Saharan African EEZs that have beneficial ownership outside sub-Saharan Africa, examining the legal, business and operational structures that are utilised by international fishing operators, and identifying where the risks exist for illegal fishing and related fisheries crimes.

Oceans 5 is an international funders collaborative comprised of Partners and Members who help identify, assess and approve projects for investment. They also remain engaged in project oversight and implementation.

FCWC activities under this project include:

  • Complete website redesign & redevelopment
  • Promoting the implementation of key components of Convention on Pooling and Sharing Information, and the Regional Fisheries Management Plan
  • Supporting harmonization of the licensing procedure in the region and the establishment of a Regional Record of Licensed Fishing Vessels
  • Ensuring that the FCWC through strengthened communications becomes a central hub of information relating to fisheries in the sub-region.