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Celebrating 10 Years of Action to End Illegal Fishing

TMT works around the world with a major focus on our partnerships in Africa

In 2023 we celebrated 10 years since TMT was first established. It's a notable milestone in what has been an extraordinary and impactful journey so far.


We founded this organisation for a very express purpose - to provide national fisheries authorities and international organisations with fisheries intelligence, analysis, and capacity building, targeting a reduction of illegal fishing and broader improvements in ocean governance.

This was based in part on a strong belief - relatively unique at the time - that State and non-State actors needed to work more closely together if we were ever going to shift the needle on illegal fishing.

10 years later, this continues to be our core approach today.


When we started TMT, for many coastal States in the Global South - and particularly in Africa where most of our work takes place - there was a large gap in the capacities of and access to key inforamtion by government fisheries enforcement agencies that meant they could not identify where and how illegal fishing may be taking place, and to be able to take well informed actions against these operations.

This has hugely negative impacts on local livelihoods, food security, marine species and environments in some of the most vulnerable countries in the world.

Over the past decade we have built the relationships, methodologies, skillsets, and tools needed to effectively achieve our mission, and today TMT is internationally recognised for our fisheries intelligence capabilities, our fisheries analytical team, our tools, our regional and national inter-agency cooperation models, our training methods, and our trust-based and close technical working relationships with key actors.

We have tried always to do this work with a low profile, focussed, and get-on-with it approach, driven always by the needs our partner countries have identified.

Today, thanks to enormous efforts by many, most of all our partner countries, the capacity gap is slowly closing, and illegal operators are being slowly squeezed.

Through our regional initiatives with both West and East/Southern Africa, multiple countries are actively working together to share information and enforce laws.

National programmes to improve inter-agency cooperation is paying dividends in the form of more cohesive enforcement operations and improved port controls.

The idea that States and non-State actors should work together is now considered the norm, and where Africa led, other regions and major fishing countries now follow.

We are slowly seeing improved capacities to monitor waters and ports, exclude high risk fishing vessels from authorisations, and run effective enforecement operations - and as a result, in turn we begin to see what we are all ultimately trying to achieve - a world where compliant fisheries, not illegal fisheries, are the norm.

Much work remains however, in Africa and beyond.

Over the next ten years we plan to continue to fill the capacity and intelligence gap by working closely with those governments to provide them with the information, the tools, and the training they need - ensuring that planning, risk assessments, and operations are at all time 'intelligence-led'.

We will continue to build key partnerships such as the Joint Analytical Cell (JAC), ensuring that we lever the best of the intelligence, analysis, tools and training that TMT and our partners can bring to our partner countries' fight against illegal and overfishing, not just in Africa but wherever they are useful.

While we will continue to maintain our technical assistance focus, we will also continue to seek to identify and understand the modus operandi of fishing operators involved in illegal and overfishing practises, towards supporting those working towards evidence-based policy, legal, and operational changes.

We recently celebrated TMT's 10 Year Anniversary at a reception in Oslo, with partners in person and online attending from around the world.

As I looked around the room at so many familiar faces - some from the days when we started the organisation, some from more recent times, many who have been with us throughout - I was reminded of just how many important people and organisations have been part of TMT's success story.

We are so grateful for the belief, support, cooperation and collaboration that have been provided.

At the core of everything we do is the TMT team, a collection of individuals that come from such an incredibly diverse professional, cultural, geographical, and life experience background, yet come together week in week out with incredible dedication and plain hard work to make TMT the best in the world at what this organisation does. I am everyday in awe and grateful for what they do, and how well they do it.


As I take stock of the past ten years and where we are today, I am proud to see an organisation that is in robust health, with a truly excellent team that works ridiculously hard to ensure that we punch above our weight.

Looking towards the next ten years, a decade that is launched with a secure funding base, a new Strategy in 2024, and a fresh new look, I am excited for the next stage in the life of this organisation, and the impact that we can have.

With thanks,

Duncan Copeland

Executive Director & Co-Founder, TMT


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