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Twelfth West Africa Task Force (WATF) Meeting in Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos, Nigeria (April 27, 2022) - The Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), is hosting the twelfth meeting of the West Africa Task Force, from 10-12 May, 2022, in

Lagos, Nigeria.

The West Africa Task Force (WATF) was established in 2015 under the Fisheries Intelligence and MCS Support in West Africa project funded by Norad and has operationalised key regional and international instruments to combat IUU fishing. It has strengthened regional informationsharing and cooperation between countries; interagency cooperation at the national level; and enforcement actions triggered by intelligence analysis and intelligence-sharing.

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 Task Force is facilitated by the FCWC Secretariat and supported by a Technical Team that includes TM-Tracking (TMT) and Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) with funding from the Norwegian Cooperation Agency (NORAD).

The twelfth meeting will bring together Directors of Fisheries, and heads of 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 African Union Inter-Bureau on Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Friends of The Nation (FoN), Global Fishing Watch (GFW), International MCS Network, Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and the fisheries ministries of Sierra Leone and Cameroon.

Key discussions for this meeting include the sustainability of the Regional MCS Centre; preparations for a regional fisheries closed season and observer programme; the launch of the FCWC Transhipment report; the harmonisation of licensing conditions; regional steps to implement port State measures; and, planning of joint fisheries patrols in the region. “A regional approach in fisheries management especially for MCS activities has been the central activity of FCWC in the West Africa region. It is therefore important to bring as many stakeholders as possible to the table to discuss and agree on an approach that maximizes our collective efforts through further communication, collaboration, and cooperation,” FCWC Secretary-General Seraphin Dedi stated.

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.

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