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National working group in Togo to strengthen inter-agency cooperation

Between the 13th and the 14th of November 2023, a multi-agency workshop took place in Lome, Togo with a focus on improving fisheries governance in Togo through combatting Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUUF) and the effective implementation of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement.

In recent years, Togo has shown through various ways, efforts made by the authorities to show willingness in slowing down illegal activities and associated crimes both in their waters and their port.

As a mechanism to improve inter-agency cooperation, Togo established a National Working Group (NWG) to combat IUU fishing in 2019, whose members come together at least once a year to share information, define a common approach on issues related to the monitoring and management of fisheries resources.

The engagement of various agencies part of the NWG, such as of the fisheries and aquaculture department, The High Council for the Sea (Haut Conseil pour la mer), the Préfecture Maritime, Maritime affairs, Customs, the Port Authority, the Maritime Brigade, Interpol, the Environmental Directorate and Navy was crucial to the assessment of the processes developed and in place to support the implementation of the Ports States Measures Agreement (PSMA).

The main aim of the workshop was to assess the progress of PSMA implementation by reviewing the state of interagency cooperation in Togo, discussing the previously identified regulatory gaps, agreeing on best practices and priority areas for technical support, and to provide additional training to officers whose duties include port controls, inspections and decisions related to the PSMA process.

Key discussions included updates on reviewing the status of implementation of regional and global measures, such as FAO transhipment guidelines, providing a national update on the implementation efforts of the PSMA and the technical aspects of its implementation. In this context, TMT technical team presented the PSMA Port Profile project which is a baseline analysis of port use by foreign-flagged fisheries vessels over a reference period of 3 years.

The port profile enables national authorities to increase their knowledge of the types of vessels calling their port and the operations they conduct before their port call. The aim is to identify factors increasing the risk of IUU fishing and improve the targeting of vessels for inspection.





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