|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.