The Secretary General of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea Seraphin Dedi represented the organization at the Norwegian Agency for International Development (NORAD) partners annual meeting between the implementing partners of the ‘Fisheries Intelligence and MCS support in West Africa’ project on 13th September 2018 in Oslo, Norway.
The West Africa Task Force (WATF) initiative brings together the six member countries of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) – Bénin, 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 Trygg Mat Tracking (TMT), Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) with funding from the Norwegian Cooperation Agency (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.
The Secretariat of the FCWC and its Member Countries in cooperation with TMT and SIF have been implementing the project ‘Fisheries Intelligence and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Support in West Africa’, since late 2014. In the presence of Mr Jan Eriksen, Coordinator of Fish for Development at NORAD Head Office, the approval for a second phase of funding for the WATF initiative was announced with a strong satisfaction expressed from the NORAD board of directors regarding the outcomes of this project.
Ms Gabriella Kossmann, Senior Adviser at NORAD remarked at the meeting that Marine Pollution, Gender and Anti-corruption in fisheries as cross issues are additional areas that should be addressed in WATF Phase 2 implementation.
Now that the Phase 2 has been approved, the first two components of the project focusing on the establishment of a Task force and the development of operational capacity will still be maintained in order to build upon previous achievements, while a third component will be added focusing on the areas raised by NORAD.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Dedi said “on behalf of the Member States & Partners, I express gratitude to NORAD for their support, and I am proud about the outcomes of WATF PHASE1 and the changes that occurred in fisheries management particularly to combat illegal fishing in West Africa.”
The FCWC member countries as well as the secretariat are delighted that a Phase 2 was granted and are eager to start the Phase 2 activities by November 2018.