March 2023 - Per Erik Bergh (CEO) attended the 40th meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Technical Committee on Fisheries which took place on 29 to 31 March 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This was a critical meeting for the SADC Technical Committee on Fisheries as it followed closely after the historical signature in March in Gaborone to the Charter to Establish the SADC Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC), allowing the Charter to now enter into force on 8 April 2023. In addition to critical decisions on this matter the Committee also deliberated on the current status and performance of the fisheries sector, including the with fisheries capacity and the status of implementation of SADC Protocol on Fisheries in all member States.
The project named – SADC Atlantic – which is funded by the US Government, and implemented by Stop Illegal Fishing was introduced to the participants.
Another event was held concurrently with the SADC Technical Committee on Fisheries meeting to discuss the issue of transparency in fisheries, and to launch a SADC report on this issue. In his capacity as the SIF coordinator, Per Erik Bergh gave brief remarks on transparency as he noted:
“The sharing of information and coordination is also the main pillar of the MCS Centre, as set out in the Charter. It is fundamentally built around the need for transparency amongst Member States. Transparency is instrumental to support the objectives and functions of the Centre. Greater information-sharing by Member States on fishing activities and fishing operators will support cost-effective coordination to address threats faced by the region and contribute to the objective of the Centre to eliminate IUU fishing.”
Mr Bergh also gave Member States representatives information on a new project named ‘Ocean Vigilance’ funded by Oceans 5 which will give the region an opportunity to support the promotion of transparency. Through this project, “we are delighted to support the SADC region in developing a regional policy commitment to a SADC minimum transparency standard” said Per Erik.
In closing, Mr Bergh quoted Dr Gove from the SADC Protecting our fisheries report: “We will gain greater transparency through collecting and sharing information beyond national borders and through this will be able to set a truly meaningful regional agenda for our fisheries.”