|A collaboration on open data and technology to strengthen maritime surveillance in West Africa.|
London, United Kingdom, May 19, 2022 – A new partnership agreement has been signed between Benin and Global Fishing Watch aimed at strengthening the monitoring, control and surveillance of fishing activities in the waters of the West African State. .
Under the MoU, Global Fishing Watch will provide technical support, including fisheries analysis, capacity building and training on its vessel monitoring tools. To track its fishing fleet, Benin is setting up a Vessel Monitoring System, or VMS, and has officially agreed to share its data through the Global Fishing Watch map – the first African country to commit to making its fishing fleet publicly visible.
Benin recently hosted in the major port city of Cotonou the first workshop organized under this new partnership, which brought together participants from Global Fishing Watch and various government agencies to develop actions against fishing. illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) and deepen collaboration through open and shared data.
“We are committed to eradicating illegal fishing from our waters and taking all necessary measures to ensure sustainable fishing,” said the Honorable Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Benin. “Through our partnership with Global Fishing Watch, we can strengthen our ability to monitor fishing activities, enforce the law and demonstrate our commitment to transparency in support of a blue economy. We encourage other African states to join us in this initiative to rid our waters of illicit activities..”
The ship’s captain Fernand Maxime Ahoyo, maritime prefect of Benin , added: “Global Fishing Watch’s tools will help strengthen Benin’s actions to protect its maritime zone.” Captain Ahoyo also welcomed the support of the non-profit organization, EcoBenin, to facilitate engagement between the Government of Benin and Global Fishing Watch.
“An effective and cost-effective way to encourage more respectful behavior at sea is to encourage greater transparency in fishing activities. This helps reward law-abiding fishers, while those lacking information can be investigated and enforcement actions can be better targeted.”said Lady Mboup, Global Fishing Watch program manager for West and Central Africa. “We observe many violations committed by unauthorized vessels off the coast of West Africa; using cutting-edge technology and open data, Benin is showing leadership in the fight against illegal fishing.“
The persistence of IUU fishing poses a considerable challenge to Benin and other coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea – a vast and diverse region that stretches approximately 5,633 kilometers (3,500 miles) of coastline from Senegal to Angola. IUU fishing accounts for almost 40% of all fish caught in West Africa and threatens the ability of developing countries in the region to optimize the use of their ocean resources.
In addition to the partnership with Benin, Global Fishing Watch has signed letters of intent with Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea, Mauritania and Senegal to strengthen collaboration on governance tools, capacity transfer and analysis . The Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (CSRP) and the Regional Fisheries Commission of the Gulf of Guinea (COREP) have also expressed their interest in joining Global Fishing Watch’s vision for greater fisheries transparency. They consider regional cooperation and information sharing necessary to combat IUU fishing.
“For West African countries, fish represents a vital source of protein, income and jobs for nearly 7 million people. But this region has seen its fish stocks drastically decrease”added Lady Mboup. “Regional collaboration is essential to eliminate IUU fishing and restore fish populations. Global Fishing Watch is pleased to support a growing number of West African states working together to share fisheries data and harness technology to safeguard their marine resources and promote their economic security..”
Gulf of Guinea countries have recently stepped up the fight against IUU fishing and related crimes. Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo, through the Fisheries Committee for the West-Central Gulf of Guinea (CPCOG) – an intergovernmental organization that promotes regional cooperation in fisheries management – launched the Regional Center for Monitoring, Control and Surveillance to monitor fishing and related activities in the Gulf of Guinea.
To support regional efforts to combat IUU fishing, Global Fishing Watch and the international non-profit organization TM-Tracking have launched a pilot project with Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and FCWC to provide authorities with the satellite tracking data, analysis and training needed to assess recent fishing vessel operations and the risk of non-compliance. This collaboration will make it possible to exploit a new tool called “vessel viewer”, developed by the two organizations and which provides key information on the identity of a vessel.
With support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Moore Foundation, the OAK Foundation and Oceans 5, Global Fishing Watch is committed to working with states to publicly share their vessel monitoring data and make its analytical tools available and its innovative technologies to help improve maritime surveillance.
“It is essential to achieve sustainable and equitable fisheries management“, said Melissa Wright, Vibrant Oceans Initiative Lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Fisheries are the foundation of the health and well-being of coastal communities, and Bloomberg Philanthropies welcomes the expansion of the number of organizations that make fisheries information available and accessible to governments, civil society and to the public. This is an important step in the fight against illegal fishing – a problem that requires the mobilization of all.“
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May 19, 2022 by