A regional consultative workshop on Establishing institutional collaboration on fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance in the East Africa-Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region (EA-SA-IO), was organized by the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the NEPAD Agency in collaboration with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) with the support from the European Union from the 7th to 9th March 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana.
The workshop was organised as a follow-up to the recommendations and requests from Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFB) and the Member states (MS) from the EA-SA-Io region to AU-IBAR in a meeting that was held in Maputo Mozambique, 9th to 11th May 2016 with view to strengthening the region’s institutional collaboration on MCS and sharing of lessons learnt and best practices in fisheries management. In response to this request the AU-IBAR engaged the services of the consulting firm OLSPS Marine from South Africa to put together a draft regional framework for institutional collaboration and propose a regional mechanism for information sharing on MCS, lessons learnt and best practices in fisheries management in the EA-SA-IO region for further elaboration. The drafts were submitted to RECs for review and comment by AU-IBAR.
Upon AU-IBAR receiving feedback and the consultant incorporating comments received on the draft, this consultative workshop was organized. The objectives of the workshop were to:
- undertake further consultations to review and validate the draft framework.
- share success stories, lessons learnt and best practices in the fisheries sector of the EA-SA-IO region.
- identify the potential challenges, opportunities and priority actions for implementation of the framework.
- develop a mechanism for information sharing and operationalizing the framework.
The consultative meeting was attended by 25 participants who comprised of representatives from regional institutions involved in fisheries management within the EA-SA-IO region, notably:
- Regional Economic Communities (RECs) - SADC, IOC, IGAD, EAC and COMESA.
- Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) and Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMOs) namely Lake Victoria Organization (LVFO), South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC), Benguela Current Convention (BCC).
- regional Non-Governmental Organizations involved in fisheries namely World Wide Fund (WWF) and Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF).
- Regional Fisheries Projects namely FISH-I Africa, IOC-SMARTFISH, WWF-SWIO Regional Fisheries Program and World Bank/IOC SWIOFISH-I.
- UN Agency, FAO
- OLSPS Marine, South Africa
Dr. Motseki Hlatshwayo, the SADC Technical Advisor Fisheries welcomed the participants and facilitated the first session of the meeting. Dr. Mohamed Seisay, the Senior Fisheries Office AU-IBAR, gave welcome remarks on behalf of the Director AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy, in which he stressed the impetus for regional cooperation and institutional collaboration in MCS as among the strategies to address IUU fishing and strengthen sustainable fisheries management among EA-SA-IO States. The meeting was thereafter officially opened by Dr. Domingos Gove, SADC’s Director of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) on behalf of the Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax. In her remarks she reiterated SADCs commitment to strengthening regional cooperation in sustainable management of its fishery resources (particularly in the shared transboundary aquatic ecosystems), aquaculture development and trade in fish and fish products as guided by SADC’s Fisheries Protocol. This Protocol was aligned with international fisheries instruments and the Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa (PFRS). She noted how opportune the workshop was, given that SADC’s Ministers responsible for Fisheries had tasked the SADC Secretariat to strengthen regional collaboration and create sustainable partnerships in MCS and combating IUU fishing. She noted that a regional approach for MCS and combating IUU fishing would enhance the sectors performance and contribution towards addressing the concerns of poverty, unemployment and inequality in the region.
The technical sessions were chaired by AU-IBAR, SADC Secretariat and LVFO.
Presentations were given to provide the background to the workshop, an overview of the content of the consultants draft regional framework and proposed mechanism for regional collaboration in MCS and share stakeholder experiences and lessons learned. These provided the basis for the deliberations and outcomes of the meeting.
The following presentations were given at the workshop:
- Enhancing Regional Cooperation on MCS in Africa: Initiatives by AU-IBAR. Presented by M. Seisay, AU-IBAR.
Overview of the Consultancy Reports
- A Review of Institutional and Organisational Mandates with Regard to Fisheries and MCS in the EA-SA-IO. Presented by P. Fielding, OLSPS Marine, South Africa.
- A Framework for Institutional Collaboration on MCS in the EA-SA-IO. Presented by P. Fielding, OLSPS Marine, South Africa.
- A Mechanism for the Sharing of Information among the Institutions of the EA-SA-IO. Presented by W. Malherbe, OLSPS Marine, South Africa.
Stakeholder Experiences and Lesson Learned from Past and On-Going Regional Actions in MCS to Combat IUU in the SWIO
- The presentations given by the respective RECs, RFBs, and RFMOs provided an overview of their institutional mandate, institutional structure, fisheries programs and MCS approaches and activities. The 5 RECs covering the region (i.e. SADC, IOC, IGAD, COMESA and EAC) and the regional RFBs/RFMOs (SWIOFC, BCC and LVFO) subsequently gave their presentations.
- The presentations given by the respective regional Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) involved in MCS within the region (WWF AND SIF) discussed their interventions, lessons learnt and experiences related to sustainable regional fisheries management including curbing IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing, information sharing, MCS policy formulation and implementation.
- The regional programs and projects FISH-I Africa, IOC-SMARTFISH, WWF-SWIO Regional Fisheries Program and World Bank/IOC SWIOFISH-I have implemented initiatives in MCS and to combat IUU fishing as among their tools for promoting sustainable fisheries management. The projects discussed their objectives and approaches, institutional linkages, human and financial resource needs, their activities, outputs and outcomes. Additionally, experiences and lessons were shared that could inform the regional institutional framework. The Cardno Fisheries Governance Technical Assistance to AU-IBAR gave a talk on ‘Data and information to support MCS.
- Four videos were presented to enrich the discussions on: (i) The IOC-PRSP’s experiences that highlighted championing the battle against IUU fishing by IOC-Smartfish programme, (ii) Lessons learnt and best practices in fisheries and aquaculture of the SWIO region by SWIOFISH1- project, (iii) Human and social rights of fish workers and crew aboard distant water fishing vessels by ITF-Seafarers (International Transport Workers Federation), and (iv) a promotional video SADC’s of its activities by SADC Secretariat.
- Dr. Motseki Hlatshwayo gave a presentation on APRIFAAS (African Platform of regional institutions in fisheries, aquaculture and aquatic systems) as a platform for Enhancing Collaboration & Information Sharing among Regional Institutions in Fisheries & Aquaculture.
On the last day of the meeting, the participants paid a courtesy call to the Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo, at SADC Secretariat. The Deputy Executive Secretary welcomed the participants and expressed his appreciation for the commitment of the regional institutions, with the leadership of AU-IBAR, towards establishing a collaborative mechanism for MCS and as well as sharing of lesson learned and best practices in fisheries management. The representative of AU-IBAR. Dr. Mohamed Seisay, on behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy, thanked the Deputy Executive Secretary for the opportunity accorded the participants. Dr. Seisay briefed the Deputy Executive Secretary on the various spheres of collaboration AU-IBAR had had with the SADC Secretariat with regards to fisheries and aquaculture.
In his concluding remarks, the Deputy Executive Secretary congratulated AU-IBAR and the RECs and further proposed that the collaboration among regional institutions be elevated to executive levels to ensure strategic placement of regional fisheries matters within the continental and cross-regional policy agendas.
Outcomes of the Meeting
Review of institutional mandates, fisheries and aquaculture programmes by RECs and RFBs and other regional Organizations:
It was agreed that a large amount of information had been gathered by the consultant. However, the report required an additional review to capture more accurately the different institutional mandates, roles and activities and emerging issues.
Framework for institutional Collaboration of MCS
The meeting agreed that the consultant’s report on proposed framework on institutional collaboration on MCS in EA-SA-IO region was in line with current approaches being taken across the region. Specifically there was discussion on the achievements of the IOC-PRSP that demonstrated a level of success in regional collaboration in MCS. It was noted therefore, that IOC-PRSP could serve as a basis for the proposed model by the consultant in the region. Depending on the regional context, options for institutional arrangements will be proposed.
Mechanism for sharing information on lessons learnt and best practices in fisheries management
The report on information sharing for information exchange on best practices and lessons learnt was acknowledged as a step in the right direction. However, the meeting felt that it was necessary to take into consideration the need for different types of information/data within the fisheries sector, commercial aspects of data collection and sharing, political sensitivity and confidentiality of data. The meeting recognized the importance of data sharing for the sustainable management and responsible governance of the fisheries. The meeting also emphasized the need to intensify the exchange of information on best practices and lessons learnt in line with the above mentioned Maputo recommendations of May, 2016. It was also suggested that the region could be benefit from exchange of information amongst the RECs, RFBs, MS, and other partners.
The following were the recommendations:
- AU-IBAR should re-circulate the WORD version of the report on review of institutional mandates, functions and activities by 12th March, 2018 with participants. The participants are to share with the consultants any relevant information to up-date the consultants reports by the 23rd March 2018.
- The consultant should relay the up-dated report on institutional mandates to AU-IBAR at a date to be agreed upon with the consultant (tentatively April 2018). AU-IBAR was tasked to circulate the up-dated consultant’s report online to participants for final review and validation.
- The APRIFAAS information sharing platform should be up-dated.
- The collaborative mechanism for collaboration on MCS needs to include IOTC, WIOMSA and other relevant regional organizations to ensure synergy and complementarity.
- Adopt a holistic approaches for regional MCS strategies that do not solely focus on the industrial fisheries and also give due emphasis to SSF IUU fishing.
- The conceptual frameworks and mechanisms for institutional collaboration on MCS within the East Africa-Southern Africa and Indian Regions proposed by the consultant were agreed and validated by the meeting.
- Operationalization of the frameworks and mechanisms will be led by AU-IBAR in collaboration with the REC’s.
- The meeting agreed to use the APRIFAAS platform for the exchange of information.
- AU-IBAR, the RECs and partners should consider emerging issues in their programs notably: developing the blue economy, establishing cost-effective data collection systems, addressing human and social rights of the fisher-folk, safeguarding the future of fisheries by addressing marine litter & micro-plastics and adopting innovative MCS technologies.
- The RECs and relevant institutions should be responsive when OLSPS Marine requests information.
Closing of the Workshop
Dr. Mohamed Seisay gave closing remarks on behalf of the Director of AU-IBAR, Professor Ahmed. He thanked the participants for their active participation in the meeting and look forward for more fruitful collaboration in enhancing regional fisheries management in the region. He also expressed gratitude to the Government of Botswana and the SADC Secretariat for the support and collaboration in ensuring a very successful meeting.
The participants in their respective capacities as RECs, RFBs/RFMOs, NGOs and regional programs gave a vote of thanks to the organizers of the workshop and expressed their hopes for improved regional sustainable fisheries management including on MCS and on information shared.
Dr. Motseki Hlatshwayo gave closing statement on behalf of the Executive Secretary, SADC. In his remarks, he congratulated AU-IBAR and the RECs for what had been accomplished so far. He reiterated that the collaboration among regional institutions should further be elevated to executive levels to ensure strategic placement of regional fisheries matters within the continental and cross-regional policy agendas. On behalf of SADC Executive Secretary he declared the meeting closed.