FISH-i Africa tackles flag state responsibility

06 Jul 2017
FISH-i Africa Task Force members

Task Force attendees analysed ongoing and recent investigations into illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean

The responsibility of flag states was one of the main focuses of the sixth meeting of the FISH-i Africa Task Force last month.

Discussion on the effective implementation of port state measures was also a central topic at the meeting, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Members of the Task Force, which works to end illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean and beyond, said: “FISH-i Africa has been a unifying agent, bringing together all the countries of the Western Indian Ocean. We value the amazing cooperation and sharing of information and knowledge and the action and achievements it has brought. FISH-i provides a real sense of satisfaction in the wonderful work we have been doing.”

The meeting provided opportunity for updates from the region, analysis of ongoing and recent investigations, and a look at fishing activity in the WIO including a newly identified unregulated squid fishery.

Seven Task Force members attended the meeting: Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania. Somalia, which joined FISH-i in 2016, was unable to attend.

The Task Force celebrated their award as Seafood Champion for Innovation 2017. Per Erik Bergh, secretary of Stop Illegal Fishing, who had received the award on behalf of FISH-i at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle in June, commended the work of FISH-i and the dedication of those involved. He said: “We feel very honoured that our efforts have been recognized internationally and look forward to working more closely with the seafood sector to stop illegal fishing.”

The location of the meeting enabled the participation of South Africa as an observer on the second day of the meeting. Bernard Liedemann of the Department for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, South Africa, commented, “The FISH-i system of communication is really benefiting the MCS operations in the region as the rapid exchange of key information leads to faster and more effective enforcement activity.”