November 2018 — Per Erik Bergh (Managing Director) and Sally Frankcom (Communications Officer) attended the eleventh Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) Conference of Ministers, held in Lomé, Togo on 30th November 2018. The meeting brought together Ministers and officials from the six FCWC Member States (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo) as well as representatives from regional, international and non-governmental organisations.
Opening the meeting, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and 2018 FCWC Chair, commended the FCWC on their success in promoting responsible fisheries and uniting the region in the fight against illegal fishing. Noting the success of the West Africa Task Force (WATF), Minister Lokpobiri stated: “The WATF has recorded remarkable successes since its initiation as a result of effective cooperation and communication among member states.”
The meeting reviewed the achievements of the FCWC during the course of 2018 and looked forward to 2019, where the focus will be ‘maritime security and sustainable fisheries development’. Per Erik Bergh commented, “There is increasing engagement between actors in the fisheries and maritime security sectors, reflecting a shift away from traditional trade agendas and a move to the blue economy agenda. By pooling knowledge and resources and working regionally there is real potential to tackle issues such as illegal fishing, trafficking and piracy. Maritime security must underpin blue growth.”