REGIONAL COOPERATION IN EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA
FISH-i Africa was a pioneering endeavour that united eight East African coastal countries to tackle illegal fishing in their waters. The Western Indian Ocean is home to plentiful fish resources that provide jobs, support local economies and represent an important food source for the region and globally. However, it is also an IUU fishing hotspot that draws illegal operators from across the globe to target the region’s rich tuna resources, which threatens economic and food security. Eight countries – Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia and Tanzania – joined forces to tackle this problem, and continue to do so today through the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC).
Improving cooperation, information and intelligence sharing
FISH-i Africa was created in 2012 with the aim of improving cooperation, information and intelligence sharing between countries in order to take action against illegal large scale fishing operators. The FISH-i Task Force enabled authorities to identify and act through an effective information sharing and cooperation mechanism that catalyses fisheries enforcement actions in the region.
FISH-i Africa was technically supported by a Coordination Team made up of Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), NFDS and TMT, who use a range of analytical tools and investigative techniques to gather and share intelligence about illegal fishing operations in the region. Systematic compilation and sharing of information between countries is a crucial aspect of the FISH-i approach, enabling countries to benefit from intelligence provided by their neighbours and preventing known illegal operators from offending serially across the region.
Operating until 2020, the FISH-i Task Force revolutionised how States in a region, actively sharing information and collaborating between themselves and with non-State actor partners, can effectively combat illegal fishing.
In 2020, with the development of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC), it was formally decided to integrate FISH-i Africa into the MCSCC. This expands the coastal States involved to include South Africa, Namibia, Angola, and Democratic Republic of Congo. While the formal establishment of the MCSCC is pending (two thirds of the SADC Member States are required to sign the Charter for it to enter into force, a goal which is near realisation), nonetheless MCSCC operations have begun, with continued technical support from SIF and TMT.
TMT's Technical Role
TMT’s technical role is to provide the intelligence and analytical support that enables the Member States to detect and take action against illegal fishing in their waters and ports. Our work wincludes identification and tracking of fishing vessels, analysis of vessel movement patterns in the region, analysis of fishing fleets and ownership structures, investigation of crimes associated with illegal fishing, and support to Task Force processes and activities.
How does it work?
SADC coastal Member States actively share information and cooperate on fisheries enforcement, supported by a technical team
Integrate satellite tracking and analysis of fishing vessel movements into MCS intelligence
Build Capacity with operational, investigate and legal support
Build cooperation with other actors and initiatives
Assess the risk of non-compliance
Publicise the actions
Conduct research and studies
Share and assess mistakes and successes