Stop Illegal Fishing Publishes New Report

Gaborone, Botswana (September 27, 2017) — Stop Illegal Fishing published a new report, FISH-i Africa: Our future, that looks at the work of the FISH-i Africa Task Force and focuses attention on the actions still needed to tackle illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean.

According to Sandy Davies—a member of the Executive Committee at Stop Illegal Fishing , “The scale and extent of illegal activity in the Western Indian Ocean has come as a real surprise to all of those involved in FISH-i Africa. We started out with the traditional expectation that most operators set out to comply with rules, or opportunistically take advantage of gaps and loopholes. But what the FISH-i investigations and analysis have shown is that in fact there are a significant number of operators who set out, deliberately and systematically to act illegally. They do this through falsifying information, forging documents, hiding company information behind secretive shelf companies and flags of non-compliance. Even when caught red handed it is difficult for coastal States to exercise effective sanctions and penalties as vessels routinely abscond from authorities, change name and change flag.”

FISH-i Africa plans to counter these systematic illegalities with a systematic programme of ‘VIGILANCE’ which will verify and cross-check the documentation and characteristics of all the vessels licensed to or flagged by the FISH-i members.

“This is a significant undertaking involving around 500 vessels and a lot of work, but we believe this is the most effective means we have to end illegal fishing in this region.” Davies added, “We’ve had a strong response already to VIGILANCE and will be looking to work with a range of organizations and funding partners.”

The International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries-related MCS activities through enhanced cooperation, coordination, information collection and exchange among national organizations and institutions responsible for fisheries-related MCS.