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Workshop on Strengthening Regional Cooperation in Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) to Deter, Combat and Illiminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU) in West Africa

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© 2016 AU-IBAR. Workshop on strengthening regional cooperation in monitoring, control and surveillance for effective fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in West Africa, 15-17 February 2016, Abuja, Nigeria.© 2016 AU-IBAR. Workshop on strengthening regional cooperation in monitoring, control and surveillance for effective fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in West Africa, 15-17 February 2016, Abuja, Nigeria.15-17 February 2016 - Abuja, Nigeria. A workshop on strengthening monitoring, control and surveillance to effectively combat, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in West Africa was jointly organized by the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with support from the European Union, in Abuja, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, from 15-17 February, 2016.

The overall objective of the meeting was the identification of priority actions for strengthening MCS capacity at national and regional levels as well as proposing options for establishing effective regional cooperation on MCS matters. The specific objectives were to (i) identify challenges and constraints to effective national and regional MCS (ii) identify priority actions for national and regional plan of actions to deter, combat and illuminate IUU and ( iii) develop a roadmap for establishing/strengthening of regional MCS Centre(s).

The meeting was attended by about 50 participants including Directors of Fisheries and MCS Experts from West African coastal states (Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, The Gambia, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire), representatives from ECOWAS, SubRegional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) , Fisheries Committee for West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA), Indian Ocean Commission, European Union, the Ministerial Conference of Countries Bordering the Atlantic Ocean (ATLAFCO), European Union, ECOWAS, Non-state actors, experts and African Union staff.

The opening ceremony marked by four statements from the representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ECOWAS, AU-IBAR and the European Union. Mrs. Louise Hill, the representative of European Union, expressed appreciation to AU-IBAR and ECOWAS for extending invitation to the European Union to participate in the highly important meeting. IUU fishing wherever it occurs, she noted, is of serious concern to EU and that EU is ready to work with partners in the fight against this practice.

The Director of AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed Sawalhy, welcomed the participants to the regional workshop and noted that level of participation signifies their commitment to fighting IUU fishing in the region. On behalf of the Chairperson of the Africa Union Commission, Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini Zuma and the Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, expressed gratitude to the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the opportunity for the institutional collaboration with ECOWAS in organizing this event in Abuja, Nigeria. He reminded the participants that one of the expected outcomes of this meeting is to strengthen the institutional capacity of MCS system for an effective fight against IUU fishing. He reiterated AU-IBAR’s commitment to combating IUU and enumerated some of the f the activities AU-IBAR has carried out in respect of strengthening the capacity of MCS in various regions of the continent.

The Commission of Agriculture, Environmental and Water Resources, Dr. Lapodini Marc Atouga, representing the President of ECOWAS Commission, expressed gratitude for the joint organization of this workshop in the West African region. He acknowledged that the workshop came at a crucial time when the rampant activities of IUU fishing are threatening the livelihoods of millions of citizens in this region and the fisheries resources. He informed the participants of the importance of the fisheries sector in food security, employment and revenue generation in the West Africa. He underscored the need of regional concerted effort in arresting this menace in West African waters.

The official opening of the workshop was performed by the Director of Agriculture of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel Damilola Emaiyeju, on behalf of the Hon. Minister of Agriculture and the Government welcomed the participants to the meeting and expressed his sincere appreciation for the opportunity given to Nigeria to host this important event on strengthening MCS to effectively combat IUU fishing. He expressed gratitude to African Union Commission (AUC) and the EU for the collaboration and contribution to the effort in enhancing fisheries management in the West African region. He described the threats posed to fisheries management due mainly to poor management practices and ever increasing incidences of IUU fishing. He lamented over the sheer scale of fish importation into Nigeria and underscored the need for the country to be self-sufficient. He outlined the strides taken by Nigerian Government in the fight against IUU fishing, including the steps that have been taken to ratify the Port States measures and the revision of the country’s sea fisheries act, the promotion of inter-agency collaboration in the fight against IUU fishing.

The main outcome of the meeting was the identification of priority areas and plan of action for combating IUU with respect to the following thematic areas in matters of MCS:

  • Strengthening Human and Technical Capacity of MCS systems in West Africa
  • Sub-Regional and Regional Cooperation and Collaboration for MCS
  • Issues of Legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks, sovereignty in matters of MCS
  • Mechanism for sustainable financial for MCS
  • Knowledge of the fishery resources and information sharing
  • Mechanism for sustainable financial for MCS

Files:
Communique - Workshop on Strengthening Regional Cooperation in Monitoring, Control and Surveillance to Combat, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing in West Africa
Date 2016-02-19 Language  English Filesize 246.18 KB