A consultative workshop on enhancing regional capacity for fisheries observer and fishing vessel register programmes (including interactive discussions on coastal, port and flag states measures) was organized by African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). The meeting was held in collaboration with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) and with support from the EU within the provision of the FISHGOV project.
The meeting was held from the 7th to 9th February 2018 at Bamburi Beach Hotel in Mombasa, Kenya.
The overall objective of this workshop was to reinforce the capacity of African Union coastal states for effective implementation of fisheries observer and fishing vessel register programmes.
The specific objectives were to:
- Train AU Member States on the duties, obligation and responsibilities of fisheries observers onboard fishing vessels at sea based on the manuals developed.
- Share perspectives on the effective and sustainable implementation of regional fisheries observers and regional fishing vessel programmes.
- Demonstrate the application of a database on regional fishing vessel that has been developed by AU-IBAR.
- Deepen understanding and implications of the basic tenets of coastal, port and flag states measures and develop priority actions for effective implementation.
The meeting was attended by 41 participants representing the 19 African Union Member States: Republic of Benin, Cameroun, Congo Brazzaville, Cote d’ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Seychelles, Senegal, Sudan, Togo, and Tunisia; Regional Economic Blocks: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), and Southern African Development Community (SADC); Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFB): Regional Fisheries Commission for the Gulf of Guinea (COREP), Fishery Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC); Academic and Research institutions: Pwani University, Kenya; Independent Experts; Dr. Dave Japp, Dr. Jan Wissema, Cdt Makane Diouf N'diaye and Mr Andre Tahindro; Development Partners Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); Also in attendance were staff members from the AU-IBAR, and CARDNO (AU-IBAR Fisheries Governance Technical Expert).
Dr. Mohamed Seisay, Senior Fisheries Officer, facilitated the opening session. He alluded to the importance of the Observer programmes and Fishing Vessel Registers in combating and monitoring Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing activities in cost-effective manners.
The meeting was officially opened by the Director of AU-IBAR, Prof. Ahmed El-Sawahly. He welcomed the participants and expressed gratitude to the Government and People of Kenya for the opportunity to host the event in the beautiful coastal city of Mombasa. He reminded the audience of the importance of putting measures in place in order to combat illegal fishing on the continent. He reminded the participants of the devastating ecological and socio-economic impacts of irresponsible fishing practices in Africa. He therefore underscored the importance of this workshop and therefore urged the participants to come out with strong recommendations on particularly enhancing regional capacity in the relevant tools for sustainable fisheries in African marine ecosystems.
The technical sessions were facilitated by Dr. Mohamed Seisay, Senior Fisheries Officer and Mr Obinna Anozie, Policy Analyst for fisheries and aquaculture of AU-IBAR.
Setting the Scene Session
A presentation on the background, rationale, and, objectives of the workshop were given by Dr. Mohamed Seisay.
The following technical presentations were made to set the scene for the workshop:
- Introduction to the AU-IBAR Manual on fisheries observer duties at-sea by Dr David Japp of CapMarine.
- Experience sharing by the following AU Member States with regards to the organizational set-up, implementation status and progress as well as challenges and lessons of National Fisheries Observer Programme: Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tunisia.
- Expert’s Presentation on establishing effective and sustainable Regional Fisheries Observer Programmes:
- Regional fisheries Observer programs – generalized institutional arrangements for effective and sustainable systems – East and South by Dr. Dave Japp – CapMarine
- Regional fisheries Observer programs – generalized institutional arrangements for effective and sustainable systems – West Africa by Dr. Makane Ndiaye- MCS Expert
- Experience sharing by Regional Institutions on initiatives and implementation of Regional Fisheries Observer Programmes: Organization set-up, implementation status and progress, challenges and lessons: Indian Ocean- Smartfish-IOC, West Africa-SRFC-SOCU and ATLAFCO region -COMHAFAT.
- Experience sharing by selected African Union Member States on implementation of National Fishing Vessel Register Programmes: Senegal, Cameroon, Kenya and Cote D’Ivoire.
- Demonstration of AU-IBAR database on regional fishing vessel register and introduction of instruction manual by Mr. Jan Wissema- CAPMARINE.
- Practical demonstration: application of the database by participants facilitated by CAPMARINE (AU-IBAR consultants).
- Experience sharing by Regional Institutions on initiatives and implementation of Regional Fishing Vessel Register- organizational set-up, implementation status and progress, challenges and lessons: Indian Ocean-Smartfish/IOC, North West Gulf of Guinea-SRFC/SOCU, West central Gulf of Guinea-FCWC and Central Gulf of Guinea-COREP.
Working Group Sessions
Two working group sessions (comprising of participants) for discussions were organized to deliberate on the identification of develop priority actions and underscoring best practices for the following thematic areas:
- Strengthening regional fisheries observer programmes
- Implementing regional fishing vessel programmes
Deepening knowledge on coastal states, port states and flag states Measures
Expert presentation on Coastal States Measures, Port State Measures and Flag States Measures by Dr. Andre Tahindro, an international expert on law of the seas.
Experience sharing by selected African Union Member States on the application of coastal states, port states and flag states measures: Application status and progress, lessons and challenges by Ghana, Mozambique and Seychelles.
An introduction of a harmonized scheme for fishing vessel boarding and inspection procedures by AU Member States Mr. Kwame Mfodwo- Cardno TA Fisheries Governance Expert.
Presentation of A model treaty for regional cooperation in fisheries management by Mr. Kwame Mfodwo- Cardno TA Fisheries Governance Expert to AU-IBAR
Working Group Sessions
A Working Group session was organized for discussions on mechanisms or priority actions for increased application of Coastal states measures, Port states measures and Flag states measures by AU Member States.
The meeting had the following outcomes:
- The capacity of African Union coastal states for effective implementation of fisheries observer and fishing vessel register programmes was reinforced.
- The capacity of the AU Member States in attendance was enhanced on the duties, obligation and responsibilities of fisheries observers onboard fishing vessels on the AU-IBAR manual.
- Experiences, best practices and lessons learnt were shared particularly with respect to the effective and sustainable implementation of regional fisheries observers and regional fishing vessel registration programmes.
- Participants were practically trained in the use of a database on regional fishing vessel registration commissioned and developed by AU-IBAR.
- Participants acquired in-depth understanding of the basic tenets of coastal, port and flag states duties and, rights as well as the necessary priority actions to ensure national uptake and effective implementation of the various international instruments.
- The harmonized scheme for boarding and inspection of industrial fishing vessels and a model for formulating treaty for regional cooperation on MCS were introduced to the participants.
The meeting came up with the following sets of recommendations
- Considering that Fisheries Observers onboard fishing vessels are subjected to challenging working environment, AU Member States were urged to ratify the relevant international and regional instruments including ILO work in fishing convention- 2007 to ensure better terms and living conditions for Observers onboard.
- African Union Member States were urged to establish sustainable funding mechanisms to support Observer programmes, such as in the case of the Republic of Sierra Leone which has established a Fisheries Observer Trust Fund. The resources for the Trust Fund could also be sourced from the private fishing companies and government levies, licence fees and taxes as well as other payments from Development Partners but with appropriate mechanisms for disbursement to Observers to curb corruption should be developed.
- Participants noted that there were quite a number of lessons and best practices with regard to Fisheries Observer programmes and fishing vessel registry which remained unconsolidated and not readily available to AU MS. AU-IBAR was therefore urged to facilitate the consolidation and synthesis of best practices from Member States and elsewhere to inform national and regional efforts for establishment and/or strengthening sustainable Observer Programmes and fishing vessel registration.
- Transparency, accountability and integrity for Observer are critical for a successful and effective Observer Programme. Member States were urged to set up/ establish an appropriate arrangement for remunerating Observers to ensure the integrity of the Observer Programme. This approach is envisaged and targeted at curbing incidences of corruption in the scheme.
- Participants appreciated the efforts of AU-IBAR and recognised that the AU-IBAR’s manual on Regional Observer Programme as well as database for Vessel Registration are valuable resources. The meeting therefore urged AU MS and other relevant partners to adopt the use of manual in developing harmonised training programmes and fishing vessels database in the continent.
- In order to ensure coherence and a harmonised system of collecting information for the fishing vessel registry, a common template for registration of fishing vessels needs was recommended to be developed for consideration by the AU MS.
- The participants unanimously observed existence of limited capacity in national Observer Programmes and therefore established the need for regular and continuous capacity building of Observers.
- The meeting observed that some AU MS are yet to establish their national Observer Programmes and recommended that AU-IBAR to reach out to such members and facilitate establishment of Observer Programmes in such AU MS.
- As part of the regional efforts to strengthen and improve coordination with regard to Observer Programmes and vessel registration, Participants recommended that a network for exchange of information and best practices among AU MS should be established.
- Participants recognised the efforts of AU-IBAR in harmonising and coordinating Pan African process with regards to the implementation of the Policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa and urged AU-IBAR to consider initiating continental/regional process for harmonising fishing vessel registry and observer programmes. This should build upon in existing initiatives.
Closing of the meeting
A representative from Kenya on behalf the Kenya Government thanked AU-IBAR for choosing the country to host this important meeting. Representatives from Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire also delivered their goodwill closing remarks. The meeting was formally closed by Dr Mohamed Seisay on behalf of the Director, AU-IBAR. He thanked the Kenya Government for hosting the meeting.