The Issues

The Indian Ocean is the second-largest tuna fishery in the world after the Pacific. Sustainable use of this high-value renewable resource is one of the key economic growth prospects for developing coastal States in the region as well as being a crucial source of animal protein.

Illegal large-scale fishing in this region is threatening economic and food security. Overall it is estimated that one in four fish caught off Africa’s coasts is taken illegally. It is a resource crime that must be stopped.

In FISH-i Africa, country representatives (Task Force) and international technical experts (Technical Team) use advanced analytical tools, systems and investigative techniques to identify and track vessels to gather and share intelligence about illegal fishing operations and responsible actors.

Through the systematic compilation, and exchange of information and involvement in illegal fishing cases, the FISH-i partners get a better understanding of the nature and patterns of illegal fishing operations in the Western Indian Ocean and how to improve controls.

Vessel identity issues

including one vessel illegally using several names or flags or several vessels using the same name

Fraud/forged documents

such as vessel registration certificates, fishing licences or catch certificates

Whitewashing of illegal fish

through the mixing of illegally caught fish with legally caught fish, most often through unauthorized and unmonitored at-sea transhipments

Avoidance of regulatory systems

by not complying with fishing, transhipment/offloading or maritime/shipping regulations, or by employing practises such as flag hopping.