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.
Capacity to monitor fishing related activity in national exclusive economic zones was limited. By developing a Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Centre (RMCSC) it has become possible to monitor all fishing vessels flagged or licensed by FCWC Member States. This gives Member States without an existing vessel monitoring system the opportunity to monitor vessels operating in their waters, and improve the ability of all Member States to monitor the highly mobile fleet active in the FCWC region.
The fully established RMCSC provides significant cost savings to national authorities.
Based at the FCWC regional headquarters, but accessible to all FCWC member countries, the RMCSC:
• Combines data from a regional vessel monitoring system with Automatic Identification System (AIS) information, and visual data.
• Monitors the position, speed, direction and activity of registered fishing vessels and support vessels.
• Allows FCWC Member States to track and monitor fishing activities across the region
A dedicated Coordinator operates the FCWC RMCSC and a secure system has been established to ensure protection of data and information. Each Member State will has web-based access to the RMCSC system.
Member States retain full control over the sharing of information relating to their flagged and licensed vessels. Data is shared between FCWC Member States in accordance with the FCWC Convention on Data sharing, which was developed in recognition of the benefits for establishing regional information systems to collect, synthesize and disseminate fisheries information.
This vessel monitoring system has been funded and initially supported under the European Union-funded project PESCAO with technical support from the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT) and AGRER.