June 2017 — New West Africa Task Force report launched
The new report The West Africa Task Force: Cooperation. Collaboration. Communication provides an insight into the establishment and operation of the West Africa Task Force.
Established in 2015, the West Africa Task Force (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.
Through the routine sharing and cross checking of information, analysis of vessel tracking information and through capacity building the WATF has engaged in a range of activities and investigations. This report highlights of some of the enforcement actions, investigations and reforms that highlight the growing cooperation between and within the National Working Groups.
Speaking on the launch of the report, Seraphin Dedi Nadje, Secretary General of the FCWC stated, “The WATF has built on the existing commitments, structure and cooperation provided by the FCWC. By delivering an active platform to operationalise existing information sharing agreements stronger connections and relationships have been built between members and consequently more effective enforcement action is resulting.”
A key element of the WATF has been the establishment of interagency working groups at the national level. Per Erik Bergh, NFDS Africa stated, “The increase in interagency cooperation that has taken place through the establishment of National Working Groups has been significant. By bringing the key players together, raising awareness and establishing communication channels much has been achieved.”
The report marks the end of the first phase of the WATF, with a second phase hoped to start later in 2017. The West Africa Task Force is facilitated by the FCWC Secretariat and supported by a Technical Team that includes Trygg Mat Tracking, Stop illegal Fishing and NFDS, with funding from Norad.