Due to various political, economic and environmental factors, West Africa and in particular the Gulf of Guinea has been identified as the most significant hotspot for illegal fishing globally. Global overcapacity in the fishing fleet and decline of fish stocks encourage fishing vessels to relocate in distant waters where fish are more abundant and management measures are non-existent or less enforced. At the same time, the ever-growing global demand for seafood products encourages operators to reduce their exploitation costs by all means, sometimes by conducting illegal fishing operations or by violating fisheries and other laws in the countries where they operate.
Fighting IUU fishing in the FCWC waters seems ambitious but through the support from its partners, the projects and initiatives implemented these few last years as well as mechanisms developed, a real decrease of illegal activities was noticed.
High levels of piracy, armed robbery, illegal bunkering, illicit drug, arms and human trafficking as well as illegal fishing contribute to the significant maritime security challenges of the Gulf of Guinea.
Regional Transhipment Strategy
FCWC has identified transhipment as a major challenge for its Member States. At sea transhipment in particular has been identified as a key facilitator of illegal fishing, providing a means for illegally caught fish to enter the
Regional Vessel Monitoring Centre
IUU fishing continues to undermine the development of sustainable marine fisheries in West Africa. The resulting environmental damage, high economic losses, and increasing levels of maritime insecurity make acting against IUU fishing a regional priority.
Regional License List
Countries have been encouraged to share information on licensed vessels as part of the WATF regular information sharing process. Since 2016, national license lists have been regularly compiled into a regional Combined License List.
Under the ‘Fisheries Intelligence and MCS support in West Africa‘ project that supports the West Africa Task Force, a toolbox is made available to the FCWC member States and its comprises of training manuals, MCS document ….