Group photo of the National Working Group of WATF - Nigeria’s Fight Against Illegal Fishing Improves Through Inter-Agency Cooperation
The third meeting of the Nigeria National Working Group jointly organized by the West Africa Task Force, and the Federal Department of Fisheries, brought stakeholders together over a three-day period to discuss strengthening inter-agency cooperation.
The meeting, which took place 9th-11th May 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria, was attended by representatives from varying Nigerian fisheries and related agencies including the Navy, the Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Port Authority, the Ministry of Justice, the Marine Police, the National Aquatic Resources Quarantine Service and INTERPOL.
In a welcome address, Ms. Aduke Bola Kupolati, the Deputy Director of Fisheries Resources at the Federal Department of Fisheries shared some of the successes and improvements that the NWG has produced in the fight against illegal fishing. “In the last one-year, we have reported and investigated on the NWG platform more than 8 vessels associated with illegal activities in our waters. We have also witnessed kidnappings and sea robbery attacks on more than three fishing vessels in our waters in the last one-year. No doubt, knowledge, and information-sharing both at the national and regional level on suspicious fishing vessels in the sub-region have greatly enhanced our effort in monitoring the activities of vessels at sea as well as combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing” she said.
Yann Yvergniaux, Analyst for Trygg Matt Tracking in his opening remarks reminded participants of the need to collaborate given the complexity of tackling illegal fishing. “The rationale behind the creation of the West Africa Task Force was that no country alone could tackle illegal fishing. This National Working Group was established in the same spirit: no agency alone can address illegal fishing and fisheries-related crimes, and therefore inter-agency cooperation is key,” he said.
The first two days of the meeting were comprised of presentations from both the national representatives of the agencies and the WATF Technical Team. Topics addressed included an update of NWG activities; a review of recommendations and requests from the NWG; a review of ongoing WATF cases; the implementation of regional and international instruments; the formalization of the NWG; and formalization of interagency cooperation through a draft MoU.
The Technical Team of the WATF gave a presentation on the last day of the meeting to 200 naval officers and trainees at the Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC) of the Nigerian Navy, The presentation covered common offenses identified in Nigeria in particular as well as the Gulf of Guinea region. Bridge inspection, cross-referencing of information from vessel documents, navigational equipment and tracking systems were also discussed. FDF Deputy Director, Mr. Popoola, called for increased cooperation between all agencies, and between the Navy and the FDF in particular, for effectively prosecuting offenders and keeping a record of detected infringements.
The West Africa Task Force brings together the six member countries of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) – Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo – to tackle illegal fishing and stop the trade in illegally caught fish. The Task Force is facilitated by the FCWC Secretariat and supported by a Technical Team that includes Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT), Stop Illegal Fishing and NFDS, with funding from Norad and NOAA.
Cote d’Ivoire: West Africa Task Force Meeting on Inter-Agency Cooperation Completed in Abidjan
Group photo of West Africa Task Force Meeting on Inter-Agency Cooperation Completed in Abidjan
The West Africa Task Force National Working (NWG) Group Meeting in Cote d’Ivoire took place from the 17-19th April 2018 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
The meeting was the second NWG organized by the WATF since its creation in 2017.
This meeting brought together representatives of all agencies at the national level involved in the management of fishing activities and operations, as well as related activities. These included the Navy, Directorate of Fisheries, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Directorate of the Autonomous Port, NCB Interpol, the Air Force, Maritime and Port Affairs, Customs Directorate, Immigration Police and the Permanent Secretariat of the Interministerial Committee for State Action at Sea.
The objectives of the workshop were to provide an update of the activities of the National Working Group, to review new working documents adopted by the WATF/CPCO such as the Trans-shipment Strategy and Additional Protocol on Information Sharing, to identify mechanisms for better formalization of Côte d'Ivoire’s National Working Group, and to review and adopt a final agreement on the inter-agency cooperation that has been developed for the FCWC region.
The working sessions over the first two days began with an opening address from Mr. Djakariya Coulibaly, the Deputy Director of Aquaculture and Fisheries said "the strategy of Côte d'Ivoire is to be firmly part of the national policy on state actions at sea, developing the partnership with the other administrations involved, and to rely on subregional, regional and international cooperation. Indeed, only solidarity can help us cope with this global scourge, which results in, among other things, the loss of employment and income for coastal communities, the threats to biodiversity and the collapse of fish stocks, and so on food security."
Duncan Copeland, the Executive Director TryggMat Tracking in his opening remarks said "National Working Groups are established to help countries strengthen their inter-agency cooperation. I'm happy to be part of a process that brings together national agencies to work together to efficiently fight against IUU fishing and more broadly fisheries crime."
The working sessions during the first two days gave the opportunity to all stakeholders to discuss their separate and collective needs and challenges and to formalize their processes for efficient and effective cooperation between their agencies through the Interagency Memorandum of Understanding.
At the conclusion of the working sessions, the recommendations of the stakeholders were adopted by the NWG members.
The meeting concluded on the third day with a visit to the Port of Abidjan which allowed the Technical Team to observe Fisheries Inspectors performing a live vessel inspection on a reefer.
PESCAO preparation in good progress in FCWC region
The first meeting between FCWC and AGRER on the PESCAO project took place on 23rd April 2018, at FCWC Secretariat headquarters in Tema, Ghana.
The aims of the meeting were to further prepare for the launch and implementation of the PESCAO project; in particular to introduce Mamadou Ball, the Technical Assistant (TA), a fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Expert, recruited under the PESCAO project and provided by private Cabinet AGRER.
Secretary-General Seraphin Dedi who chaired the meeting went over the project description, the activities, result areas, the implementation team and the budget. “The priority is to secure a date for the launching of the project to create a large visibility and ownership of the project in FCWC subregion for its smooth running,” Mr. Dedi said in reference to the activity.
Mr Frank Feys, Director of the Environment Department for AGRER. also gave a presentation on the Terms of reference of the TA and contract between the European Union Commission and AGRER to assist FCWC in the implementation of the PESCAO Project.
The meeting concluded with an exchange of proposed work plans by FCWC and AGRER for the four (4) years of implementation of the EU Funded PESCAO Project to strengthen Institutions and fisheries governance in the West Africa region.
Kenya: Toward a Pan African framework for Minimum Conditions of Access for Shared Fisheries Stocks
The Secretary General of the FCWC, Mr. Séraphin DEDI is attended a consultative workshop on the Harmonized Minimum Conditions from 16-19th April 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya. The workshop was intended to provide policy provisions in the assessment of fisheries management measures for the regulation of shared stocks in order to develop and strengthen frameworks for harmonization of minimum access conditions in African fisheries.
The meeting was jointly organized by the African Union Inter-African Animal Resources Bureau and the NEPAD Agency (under the FISH-Gov Fisheries Governance Project) and comprised with AU Member States, Regional Economy Communities, Regional Fisheries and management Bodies and Fisheries specialized journalists.
Mr Dedi gave a presentation on the Convention on the Minimum Conditions for Access to Resources in the zone of the Fisheries Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), adopted in 2013. He recalled that the objectives of the FCWC were aimed at strengthening cooperation between Member States in the sustainable management of fisheries resources in the waters under national jurisdiction, which necessitated the adoption of a convention on the minimum conditions for access to resources in the FCWC zone.
Mr Dedi shared that “the FCWC Convention establishes a coordinated and harmonious approach in the exploitation of fishery resources in the area by fishing vessels of the FCWC Member States and vessels of third States, by establishing minimum standards of access and exploitation of these resources, taking into account the particular situations of small-scale fisheries and coastal communities.” He further explained that the FCWC convention reiterates the definition of IUU fishing as adopted by the International Plan of Action to prevent, counteract and discourage IUU fishing (IPOA-IUU) and advocates the principles of precaution, participation and an eco-systemic approach to the management of fisheries resources.”
Through the establishment of a Regional Working Group to fight against IUU fishing, FCWC Regional cooperation measures have been reinforced by the adoption of a Convention on the sharing of information, the formulation of guidelines for the port of IMO numbers by fishing vessels operating in each of the Member States, training, awareness-raising actions for private actors, lawyers, support for the ratification of international instruments including AMREP, and the institution of information-sharing mechanisms between Member States.
The main objectives of the Expert Consultative Workshop were to develop a framework for Harmonized MTC and to operationalize the mechanism for coordinating common position and enhanced African voice for implementation of RFMOs recommendations and resolutions by AU MS within existing structures;
“In this regard, as far as the FCWC region is concerned the recommendations of the RFMOs and resolutions formulated by the Member States will be reinforced through ongoing projects including EU Funded PESCAO Project and the second phase of the WATF project supported by NORAD, towards monitoring of vessels flying the flags of FCWC member states, through the monitoring and surveillance center, as well as the implementation of the Regional Fisheries Management Plan, and the new FCWC plan to Combat IUU Fishing” said Mr Dedi.
The FCWC received a financial support from the European Union for the implementation of the action entitled: "Improving Regional Fisheries Governance in West Africa - PESCAO".
The overall purpose of the PESCAO initiative, which is planned for a period of four (4) years, is to improve the contribution of fisheries resources to food security and poverty reduction in West Africa.
The project will start by 23rd April 2018 with join meeting between FCWC Secretariat, EFCA and EUD-Ghana.
In this regards, we are pleased to share with you the recruitment process for the Administrative and Financial officer and Informatuon and technology Expert (IT) for the smooth running of the project.
The Secretary General of the FCWC is in Monrovia, Liberia from 21 - 28 March 2018 participating in the preparatory mission towards Phase 2 of the West Africa Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP).
The meeting brings together stakeholders from the FCWC, World Bank and Global Environment Funds (GEF) to participate in the meeting during which decisions will be taken on the action and financing plan for Phase 2 of the project.
The meeting also afforded the FCWC SG, Mr Dedi to meet with Ms GLassco Emma, DG of the National Fishery and Aquaculture Agency (NaFAA) newly established in Liberia.
With this new autonomous Institution in charge of fisheries, the Liberia Government aims to strengthen the fisheries development for the economic and social growth of the population in the fisheries industry.
''The new administration aims at strengthening national and regional inter-agency cooperation for the sustainable management and conservation of fisheries resources within the region'' said Ms GLassco Emma.
The Secretary General used the opportunity to warmly welcome Ms GLassco Emma and invite her to take all necessary steps to actively contribute in FCWC and its partners initiatives to achieve the common goals of fisheries sustainability in the region.