In recognition of two Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) implemented fisheries surveillance initiatives, the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (IMCS) Network awarded the IOC with two ‘Stop IUU Fishing Awards’ at the 5th Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop in Auckland, New Zealand on the 10th of March 2016.

The award winners were selected by an international panel of judges composed of leading experts from the MCS field. They are aimed at recognising innovative solutions used in both small and large scale fisheries to deter Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The IOC won the first prize for a pilot project aimed at demonstrating to local government authorities the potential to increase revenue streams derived from fisheries by improving the levels of vessel registration and licensing through the adoption of better inspection methods to determine compliance with local vessel registration criteria.

Commenting on the awarding of the prize, Michele Kuruc, Vice-President, Ocean Policy, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Cephase Ralph, Chair, IMCS Network, said ‘the judges agreed unanimously on a first place winner which reflected an innovative, ingenious and very low cost solution.’

The second prize was awarded to the IOC for its work in supporting the implementation of the Multi-Agency Task Team (MATT) to address organised environmental crime including fisheries crimes. The MATT’s work has focused on facilitating a collaborative and inclusive approach to addressing the problem of dynamite and blast fishing in Tanzania.

Marcel Kroese, IOC-SmartFish MCS Expert, on receiving the award commented ‘thanks to the support of the European Union, the IOC-SmartFish programme has been working to combat illegal fishing in East Africa over the past 4 years. It’s truly gratifying to have our hard work and achievements rewarded so resoundingly by the International MCS Network.’

All at FISH-i Africa and Stop Illegal Fishing wish to congratulate the IOC and all involved in these excellent initiatives that have, and are, contributing to stopping illegal fishing across Africa.