Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) was initially formed to support a Southern African Development Community (SADC) process to develop a Statement of Commitment on illegal fishing in 2008, with UK (DFID) funding.
SIF then became a Working Group of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)/DFID Partnership for African Fisheries project, establishing it as the go-to network for fighting IUU fishing in Africa. SIF still functions as the ‘working group’ on illegal fishing for the NEPAD and African Union, and having gained both momentum and political clout, today SIF is a registered not-for-profit organisation. Its main purpose is to coordinate and support efforts to fight illegal fishing in African waters. One of its current flagship projects – the FISH‐i Africa initiative – is exciting proof of how regional partnerships can help stop illegal fishing on the continent. NFDS Africa has been coordinating SIF since 2008.
Stop Illegal Fishing were awarded the Margarita Lizárraga Medal Award by the Council of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization for the years 2014-2015. “SIF was selected in recognition of an excellent African example of what can be achieved to stop IUU fishing by demonstrating that a lot can be accomplished with relatively small resources through good networking, the sharing of information, regional and international cooperation, and a strong commitment to stop IUU fishing. Its achievement is considered as a model of similar initiatives and to have a catalytic effect on other regions. The contribution of SIF to the application of the Code is therefore outstanding, practical, tangible and sustainable as well as catalytic.” Árni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the FAO.
On accepting the award on behalf of SIF Per Erik Bergh, SIF Co-ordinator commented that “the recognition offered by the FAO Margarita Lizárraga Medal is important to us. As an independent not-for-profit organization we rely on the goodwill, dedication and support of individuals and organizations working to tackle illegal fishing. We have created a network that provides practical support and a sense of common purpose. We achieve change through supporting the institutions and countries most affected by illegal fishing, by challenging entrenched approaches and offering simple scalable solutions to on going challenges.”
In 2015 Stop Illegal Fishing co-organised The International Symposium on FishCRIME, a joint initiative between the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and PescaDOLUS. The symposium provided an opportunity for professionals working in the sector to discuss challenges and cooperation and to explore future strategies for change, nearly 200 delegates from 31 countries participated. Further information on the event can be found at www.fishcrime.info
Visit the Stop Illegal Fishing website to find out more about these and our other activities.