The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and the West Africa Task Force (WATF) are conducting a four-day needs assessment and training workshop for Fisheries Monitoring Centre (FMC) personnel in Monrovia, Liberia from February 18th to 21 2019.
Participants are being trained on the use of vessel monitoring systems and contained functionalities, along with analysis and use of systems output data, and other relevant data sources, to detect risk vessel behavior and events of interest. The training also focuses on the broader use of data and information available, to complement efforts such as inspections and control of fish carrier vessels.
Lead trainer on the activity, Stig Fjellberg from Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT), notes that ‘The activity aims to increase the awareness, build the confidence and strengthen the procedural knowledge and expertise of fisheries inspectors allied agencies staff to ensure illegal operators are identified, and successful enforcement action can be taken. Crucially this training is focusing not only on Liberian waters, but also is supporting Liberian capacity to monitor and control Liberia-flagged reefers operating in waters around the world’.
The workshop is one of the first activities implemented under the second phase of the WATF initiative, operationalizing the annual workplan commitment to support capacity building in the FCWC Member countries and sub-region. In compliance with one of the outcomes of the most recent West Africa Task Force Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria “to cooperate with other initiatives”, the activity also integrates with the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) component of the European Union-funded “Improved Regional Fisheries Governance” (PESCAO) project “to ensure that countries and FCWC capacities in operational MCS are strengthened, along with their ability to sustain this in the long-term through enhanced training programmes.”
The West Africa Task Force (WATF) was established in 2015 with the key task to operationalize important MCS commitments of the FCWC, including the 2014 Convention on the Pooling and Sharing of Information and Data on Fisheries in the Zone of the FCWC and the FCWC Regional Plan of Action on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The WATF is facilitated by the FCWC Secretariat and member countries, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo, with technical support from Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT) and Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), and is supported by Norad through the project ‘Fisheries Intelligence and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Support in West Africa Phase II’.