Fight against Illegal Fishing: Skills developed in the Western Indian Ocean
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A regional fisheries surveillance patrol took place from May 17 to June 30, 2021. During the debriefing meeting organized by members of the Regional Coordination Unit (RCU) of the Regional Plan for Fisheries Surveillance (PRSP) Tiana Randriambola, in charge of monitoring, control and surveillance of the E€OFISH program, stated: “This mission was an opportunity to test new approaches for better governance, to exchange information more effectively and to reinforce regional cooperation ”.
Six inspectors from the Comoros, France / Reunion Island and Kenya boarded the OSIRIS II to take part in this mission to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU). Jérôme Lafon, Deputy Director of the South Indian Ocean Department, states: ""This patrol made it possible to cover 7,116 nautical miles in the exclusive economic zones of seven member countries of the PRSP and to control 12 vessels"".
Innovative working methods have been tested in the region for greater effectiveness in terms of deterrence and prevention against illegal fishing. Despite the absence of inspectors from Mauritius and the Seychelles on board, the crew of the OSIRIS II were able to travel through these territories due to tactical control and exchange of information. During this regional mission, information exchanges were also carried out between the PRSP and the two regional centres for maritime information fusion (CRFIM) of Madagascar and operational coordination (CRCO) of Seychelles, supported by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) through the MASE program, which is funded by the European Union. The inspectors on board also exchanged views with regards to information and best practices from their respective countries.
This patrol mission is the second of its kind since the eight island and coastal states of the Western Indian Ocean adopted the guidelines for relaunching the PRSP in September 2020. It was made possible by resources from the European Development Fund (EDF), the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and the INTERREG Indian Ocean program managed by the Reunion Region (France).
Regular and structured surveillance is crucial in deterring and preventing illegal fishing in the waters of the western Indian Ocean in order to reduce the region's considerable losses in the area. This is why the next joint monitoring missions are already in preparation.
This is all part of the activities of E€OFISH Program implemented by the IOC, the Lake Tanganyika Agency (LTA), the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), the Common Market for Africa Eastern and Southern (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC). Funded and promoted by the European Union, this program aims to make sustainable fishing an economic lever for the region of East Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.