Improving Fisheries Governance in Western Africa Project (PESCAO)

The new European Union funded regional fisheries programme (PESCAO) aims at complementing and building upon the progress already made in enhancing regional fisheries management in the FCWC region. The approach of the project is to address regional fisheries policy; to build the capacities of national and regional monitoring, control and surveillance authorities; and to demonstrate the added value of coordinated approaches for shared fisheries management.

Fisheries can only be managed effectively through minimum regional cooperation. The interventions foreseen under this action will enhance regional fisheries management in a number of ways, including by: first, addressing regional fisheries policy at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) level, which will provide both a framework for regional fisheries priorities and also strengthen the impact of regional fisheries bodies by defining more effectively the role and relationships of each organisation; second, by building the capacities of competent national and regional Monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) authorities to deter IUU fishing; third, by demonstrating the added value of coordinated approaches for shared fisheries management. The intervention is completely consistent with the regional strategic agenda and will complement EU and other donors’ actions at national level.

The fisheries sector is of social, economic and political importance in the West African region in several ways, including: as a source of employment, income in coastal communities and foreign exchange earnings; as a key contributor to regional food security and as the most important supplier of animal protein to the diets of many West Africans; but also as an element of maritime security.

The key result areas of the project are:

  • Result 1 – Fisheries legal frameworks are harmonized and consistent with international standard to ensure proper fight against IUU fishing
  • Result 2 – Cooperation between countries, administrations and organisations is facilitated.
  • Result 3 – FCWC is equipped with a Regional MCS centre with improved linkage to national MCS structure
  • Result 4 – Countries’ and FCWC capacities in operational MCS are strengthened, along with their ability to sustain this in the long-term through enhanced training programmes
  • Result 5 – Joint regional fisheries/patrol missions are organized in the Gulf of Guinea
  • Result 6 – FCWC countries get support in the development of a pool of regional observers.

The overall objective is to enhance the contribution of fisheries resources to sustainable development, food security and poverty alleviation in West Africa. The specific objective is to improve regional fisheries governance in Western Africa through better coordination of national fisheries policies.