May 2017 — Per Erik Bergh (Managing Director) and Mark Ssemakula (Project Officer) were in Nigeria for the inaugural meeting of the Nigeria National Working Group (NWG) of the West Africa Task Force, held in Lagos from the 22nd – 24th May.
The National Working Group Meeting was organised by the Nigerian Federal Department of Fisheries (FDF) and the West Africa Task Force (WATF) Coordination Team, in collaboration with the Fishery Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC). Agencies represented at the meeting included the FDF, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Marine Police, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigeria Navy and representatives from the Attorney General’s Office.
Discussions were held on the activities of the different agencies to date, as well as the steps that need to be taken to establish the NWG. The last day of the workshop was a practical exercise held in the Port of Lagos which highlighted how different agencies approach fisheries enforcement and where they can collaborate better in future.
Per Erik Bergh commented “It’s great to see that Nigeria has successfully launched its NWG, with all agencies in attendance eager to formalise and strengthen cooperation mechanisms. Interagency cooperation is essential when dealing with illegal fishing given the range of jurisdictions and agencies involved in the sector.”