Experiences from the FISH-i Africa Task Force were shared at the sixth meeting of the West Africa Task Force held in Lomé, Togo on 5-7 June 2018.
The investigation into the case of the GREKO 1 and GREKO 2 was outlined by Mark Ssemakula of Stop Illegal Fishing, ‘The GREKO 1 was thought to be operating illegally in Somalia for some time, but it was only when Somalia joined the FISH-i Africa Task Force in June 2016 that information was shared and action taken. This is a powerful demonstration of the value of regional cooperation amongst neighbouring coastal States.’
Regional and international cooperation were showcased in the recent case of the STS-50, a known IUU vessel that was denied port access in the Western Indian Ocean and tracked by FISH-i analysts leading to its arrest by Indonesian authorities in April 2018.
Sally Frankcom of Stop Illegal Fishing presented on FISH-i’s experiences cooperating with international conservation organisation Sea Shepherd as part of the Tanzanian Operation Jodari. The operation has led to the departure of the licensed fishing fleet from Tanzanian waters as they sought to avoid inspection by the Deep Sea Fishing Authority officials on board the Sea Shepherd patrol vessel, OCEAN WARRIOR.
The overview and analysis of illegal fishing and related activity developed under FISH-i provides the basis for the planned programme of VIGILANCE that will see the active fishing fleet of the Western Indian Ocean undergo a series of checks and inspection to confirm identity and compliance of the vessels. Sally Frankcom commented, ‘There are considerable areas of shared interest between the West Africa and FISH-i Africa Task Forces, but there are also considerable differences. Foreign-flagged vessels dominate in the Western Indian Ocean and the shared tuna stock is the main target for illegal fishing. In the FCWC region the fleet composition is dominated by nationally-flagged vessels, with a greater emphasis on shrimp and demersal stocks and the import / export of high volumes of fish throughout the FCWC region.’