Stop Illegal Fishing launch a regional partnership to combat fisheries crimes in the Western Indian Ocean

FISH-i Africa, a new regional partnership to help stop illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean region of South-eastern Africa, has been launched on Thursday the 13th December at Beau Vallon in the Seychelles.

The FISH-i Africa initiative has been developed through a partnership between the five coastal States of Comoros, Kenya, Mozambique, Seychelles and the United Republic of Tanzania, the Stop Illegal Fishing working group of the NEPAD, and the Pew Environment Group.

These partners will work to build cooperation, information-sharing and analytical systems between the key Southeast African coastal states to prepare them for targeted enforcement actions against IUU fishing operators in the Western Indian Ocean. The work will also involve cooperation with regional partners such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).

Fish-i Africa aims to improve information-sharing and cooperation, to develop tools and databases for the strategic gathering and use of information and for assessing risks, and to demonstrate how to use different sources of information strategically in order to target enforcement actions against illegal operators in the coastal States’ fishing grounds or in their ports.

The partner countries have committed to establish a platform for real-time sharing of sometimes sensitive data on vessels, their movements, catch and owners, aimed at enabling nations to take timely action against suspected illegal operators.

The Seychelles Minister for Investment, Natural Resources and Industry Peter Sinon, opened the FISH-i Africa inaugural meeting and commented that “Africa sits in the middle of very important and fragile oceans. We can no longer tolerate illegal fishing. We have to ensure this finite resource is passed on to future generations, and we have the jurisdiction to act now”.