Ghana signs a pact with Togo and Benin to fight against IUU fishing
Three West African countries have forged a partnership to implement a Joint Fisheries Observer Program as part of their efforts to ensure safe, secure and legal fishing continues in the Gulf of Guinea .
Ghana signed a pact with Togo and Benin to ensure joint surveillance of the countries’ fisheries, including the sharing of information provided by the Regional Center for Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (RMCSC) which was established in the first quarter 2021 by the Fisheries Committee. for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), whose members include Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo.
Although Côte d’Ivoire is supposed to be part of the pact, the country did not sign at the same time as the other three countries – all members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has 15 members.
Ghana’s Joint Fisheries Monitoring Pact came shortly after the successful conclusion of the 13th session of the FCWC Ministerial Conference – held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on December 17, 2021 – where participants underscored the need a closer working relationship to fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Ghana wooed Togo and Benin shortly after the two countries conducted their first joint sub-regional patrol operation, dubbed “Isaac Gatorwu”, with financial support from the European Union Project for Improvement. regional fisheries governance (PESCAO).
Other partners involved in the joint fisheries observation mission include the Regional Center for Maritime Safety in West Africa (CRESMAO), based in Abidjan, the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), Multinational Maritime Coordination Centers (MMCC) Zones E and F, and Trygg Mat Tracking with NORAD funding.
The move comes after reports from the Environmental Justice Foundation revealed that the country’s inshore fishery faces an imminent collapse, in large part due to illegal fishing. Ghana has often struggled with the practice of “saiko”, in which small canoes transfer the catch from large trawlers.
“A serious overcapacity of the trawler fleet combined with the illegal practice of ‘saïko’ – where industrial trawlers illegally target the basic catches of artisanal fishermen and transfer them to specially adapted boats at sea – results in the collapse of Ghana’s coastal fisheries, ”wrote the EJF.
Ghana, which imports nearly 50 percent of the seafood it consumes, is now working with agencies and organizations, including the EU, to tackle problems related to illegal fishing, says secretary-general from CPCO, Seraphin Deli. Deli said the Joint Fisheries Monitoring Initiative is an indication that participating countries wish to ensure sustainable exploitation of the fishery resources available within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a union regional policy and economics of 15 West African countries.
Photo courtesy of CPCO