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Inter-agency workshop in Madagascar toward strengthening national cooperation to fight IUU fishing

TMT facilitated a workshop in Madagascar this month as part of an ongoing assessment of national inter-agency cooperation in fisheries monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS). The objective of the workshop was to present and refine the preliminary results of the assessment, and gather additional insights from agency representatives. The objective was also to identify priorities for strengthening national inter-agency cooperation to fight IUU fishing, and identify avenues for the formalization of a cooperation mechanism.

The workshop consisted in one day of bilateral meetings between Centre de Surveillance des Pêches (CSP) and key ministries, and two days of multi-agency discussions involving a dozen institutions and departments. The CSP, under its mandate to coordinate national fisheries enforcement efforts, is currently seeking to multiply partnerships and increase the pooling of resources and patrol assets with other departments that play a law enforcement role in the maritime sector.

Participants delivered valuable presentations on how inter-agency cooperation currently works in practice in Madagascar, and discussed how it could be improved through better and more systematic communication and coordination. Participants from the Gendarmerie, Customs, Port authorities and other agencies provided concrete examples on how routine controls and patrols targeting vessels operating in harbours and nearshore areas can already lead to the detection of fisheries-related offenses.

A key discussion focused on the ongoing efforts to devolve fisheries MCS roles to local authorities in coastal communities, and how bottom-up sharing of information and intelligence through a national inter-agency mechanism could help in the ongoing identification of fisheries surveillance and enforcement priorities.

Other sessions focused on the licensing and registration of vessels, and the implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement, among the other key areas requiring increased inter-agency cooperation. The workshop therefore provided an opportunity to present the key components of the TMT-Global Fishing Watch “Intelligence-led fisheries port controls” programme which supports operational PSMA implementation in Africa, the extension of which will include Madagascar.

The workshops concluded in a series of recommendations, including on the creation of an inter-agency advisory committee on fisheries SCS to be convened regularly by the CSP, and of which participants were able to identify future member institutions and departments.

The Madagascar workshop was the fourth in a series of workshops organized by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in the seven countries participating in its Regional Fisheries Surveillance Programme (PRSP). It was funded by the EU through the ECOFISH programme.

Antananarivo, 30 June 2023


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