Tackling illegal fishing in Western Africa
07 Sep 2016
The EU has thrown its weight against tackling illegal fishing off West Africa
A four-day campaign co-funded by the EU against illegal fishing off the West Africa Coast has shown concrete results in tackling illegal fishing in Western Africa.
From 28 August to 1 September 2016, the West African Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) organised a regional operation at sea to control vessels fishing in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Guinea.
This is the first time the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) has taken part in such an exercise.
Commissioner Vella said: “Regional cooperation is key to fight the sophisticated networks behind illegal fishing. It is therefore very rewarding to see Western Africa pioneering this joint approach, and for the EU to be able to participate through the presence of an expert from our European Fisheries Control Agency. We hope this will be the first of many such campaigns.”
This operation called “Pedro Cardoso Nanco”, was named after a Bissau-Guinean fisheries inspector who died at sea after 35 years of activities. He had participated in many sub-regional campaigns organised by the SRFC. Five patrol vessels (of 20 to 50m) were involved in the operation.
During the operation some 82 vessels were controlled and 14 infringements were detected. Two industrial Chinese vessels were identified as fishing illegally in Guinea, in a zone closed to fishing activities for reasons of biological recovery. One of them managed to escape but the other one was sent to port to be sanctioned.
This operation was co-funded by the EU programme Governance in the Western African Marine Eco-Region (GO-WAMER) and the World Bank’s West African Fisheries Programme (WAFP).
The GO-WAMER project aims at improving marine resources governance in seven Western African countries. Funded by the EU, this €10.5 million programme is coordinated by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP).
SRFC is a regional organisation based in Dakar and composed of seven countries: Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cape-Verde. It aims at improving cooperation in terms of monitoring, control, surveillance and harmonisation of fisheries policies.
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