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.