Lomé, Togo - The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and the Government of Togo, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries (MEMPPC) are hosting the 14th FCWC West Africa Task Force (WATF) meeting from 7 - 9 June 2023 in Lomé, Togo.
The West Africa Task Force seeks to strengthen fisheries enforcement cooperation in the region through strengthened information sharing and cooperation, and is supported by technical team partners Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) and TMT, with funding from Norad.
This fourteenth WATF meeting will bring together Directors of Fisheries, and heads of fisheries monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) to share national level updates, and to discuss regional cooperation and collaboration in MCS enforcement actions.
Representatives of partners attending the meeting include the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International MCS Network (IMCSN), and Skylight. Representatives of the fisheries ministries of Sierra Leone and Cameroon will be attending as observers.
The new FCWC Secretary-General, Dr Gaston Djihinto, commented on the meeting stating, “as greater regional cooperation is demonstrated in the region, the joint closed seasons of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana being an example, it is more important now than ever to share information and provide critical and timely updates with our Member States and partners.
This forum provides that opportunity bi-annually and will allow us to better understand the present regional context, challenges, and opportunities to advance our agenda of regional fisheries cooperation.”
Key objectives of the meeting are to develop recommendations and requests to the technical team; to discuss the FCWC Regional Centre updates; to discuss the regional strategy to combat illegal transshipment in the FCWC region in light of the recent FAO guidelines on transhipment; to share FCWC’s recent institutional priorities; and project priorities for the development of a Phase 3 of Norad support for the Fisheries Intelligence and MCS support in West Africa project that supports the WATF.
An orientation side-event will also be held for those representatives of Member States who will be taking part in the upcoming Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop (GFETW) in Halifax, Canada.
The WATF brings together the six member countries of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) – Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Togo – to tackle illegal fishing and stop the trade in illegally caught fish. The WATF is facilitated by the FCWC Secretariat and supported by a Technical Team that includes TMT, and Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). Through active cooperation, information sharing and facilitating the operations of national interagency working groups, the West Africa Task Force is working together to stop illegal fishing.