November 2022 — Sandy Davies (Technical Director) and Andréa Durighello (Fisheries Expert) participated in the thirteenth meeting of the Fisheries Commission for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) West Africa Task Force (WATF).
The meeting was held in Cotonou, Benin on 8 – 10 November 2022. Participation of the directors and heads of monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) from the FCWC Member States, Technical Team members, and representatives of partner organisations was though in-person and online attendance.
The meeting focused on experience sharing regarding activities advancing regional cooperation and coordination to fight IUU fishing, including updates on activities conducted at the FCWC Regional Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Centre (RMCSC). It was also used to discuss specific issues such as the recent FAO transhipment guidelines, flagging patterns of fishing vessels, opaque beneficial ownership and the risks of IUU fishing associated with fish imports, with the concrete example of Nigeria.
The priority was to discuss the strategy for the sustainable operationalisation and funding of the WATF and the RMCSC as well as its anchorage at the ECOWAS level, highlighting the importance of cooperation within the whole West-African region. This 13th meeting was marked by the presence of the ECOWAS Commission, whose representative emphasised its willingness to make the FCWC one of its technical arms to enhance good fisheries governance in the region.