A team from the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) Secretariat paid technical visits to Togo and Benin from 12th-15th February 2019 to share the planned activities of the projects under implementation for 2019 for adoption and to strengthen the Member States’ involvement.
The FCWC has been implementing the European Union-funded ‘Improving Regional Fisheries Governance in West Africa' (PESCAO) project since April 2018 with partners including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission; the FCWC and the Sub Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) member countries; and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA). The FCWC is also implementing the ‘Fisheries Intelligence and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Support in West Africa’ project funded by Norwegian Development Agency (NORAD) currently in its second-phase in collaboration with the FCWC Member countries, Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT) and Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF).
The main objectives of the visits to the countries were to introduce phase 2 of the NORAD-funded “Fisheries Intelligence and Support to MCS in West Africa” project; to monitor and evaluate the progress made by the West Africa Task Force (WATF) National Working Group (NWG) and to perform capacity needs assessments. Furthermore, the visits were to present the PESCAO project plans, to identify prior actions to be included in the implementation plan of the Transshipment Strategy; and to identify opportunities and potential challenges for implementing activities in 2019.
Speaking on the progress made during the visits to the two countries, FCWC Secretary-General Seraphin Dedi said, “I am pleased that the capacity needs were clearly identified and requests for support were thoroughly expressed. We have integrated them into our activities of this year 2019, and we look forward to addressing them through the collaboration and interagency cooperation and through strong synergy between the projects under implementation.”
Some of the activities that have been planned include capacity-building trainings in reefers inspection, fisheries observer training, the celebration of the FAO International Day of the Fight Against IUU Fishing on 5th June 2019 in Cotonou, Benin, and the 8th West Africa Task Force meeting that is scheduled on 7-9 may 2019, in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.