May 2023 - Per Erik Bergh (CEO and Managing Director), JD Kotze (Investigator) and Andréa Durighello (Fisheries Expert) travelled to Lüderitz and Walvis Bay, Namibia; together with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat and staff of the SADC Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC) as part of the SADC Atlantic project – a US-funded project.
As proposed during the Project inception workshop held in Namibia in March 2023, the most recent week-long (8 –12 May) visit focused on performing risk assessment training on fishing vessels and their owners/operators, including support on vessel inspection and evidence collection.
The team engaged with fisheries inspectors from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR), and staff from the Fisheries Observer Agency (FOA). The NFDS team explained the importance of an advanced request to enter port (AREP), risk assessment and proper evidence collection which are all critical steps in deciding whether to permit or deny a vessel entry into port; and/or in enabling enforcement against IUU vessels. Therefore, by building capacity in these areas, supported by necessary the tools and procedures, the fisheries officers would develop strong engagement, and contribute to regional efforts to stop illegal fishing.
The training was a combination of theory in a class-type discussion setting; and practice whereby MCS officers embarked on an inspection of fishing vessels that came into ports, both in Lüderitz and Walvis Bay. The practical sessions, provided a chance for the body-worn cameras to be demonstrated as they support MCS officers with an unbiassed recording of interactions during an inspection, improving transparency and responsibility. More training and remote mentoring by the project team will follow throughout the year to support the officers in strengthening their procedures.