March 2017 – Per Erik Bergh (Managing Director) was in Barbados for the First Meeting of the Regional Working Group on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing at the United Nations House on the 1st and 2nd of March 2017.
The meeting was organised by the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) Secretariat, in collaboration with the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat. It was hosted by the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management of Barbados, and supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States (NOAA), the Caribbean Billfish Project, and the Ocean Partnership for Sustainable Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation Models for Innovation and Reform (ABNJ) Project.
The aim of the Regional Working Group on IUU Fishing was to improve coordination and cooperation between national organisations and institutions responsible for fisheries-related monitoring, control and surveillance in support of their common efforts to combat IUU fishing. The purpose of this first meeting was to formally establish the Working Group; bring together stakeholders; and, build capacity for more effective collaboration, with specific emphasis on lessons learned from other regions such as the Western Indian Ocean.
Per Erik was able to share lesson learning from the FISH-i Africa Task Force and the new FISH-i publication ‘Illegal Fishing? Evidence and Analysis’. “Our experiences with FISH-i have underlined the importance of regional information sharing. Sharing information on flagging, licences, and inspections enables the cross checking and verification of vessel information. By joining up the implementation of port State measures with flag and coastal State due diligence processes we can hold the illegal operators to account.”