SADC Secretariat, represented by, Technical Advisor-Fisheries, Dr. Motseki Hlatshwayo participated in a “Consultative workshop on enhancing regional capacity for fisheries observer and fishing vessel register programmes (including interactive discussions on coastal, port and flag states measures)” that took place from 7 – 9 February 2018 in Mombasa, Kenya.
The workshop was organized by the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), in collaboration with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) and with support from the European Union (EU). It was held as part of the Continental project that SADC is part of, titled “Strengthening institutional capacity to enhance governance of the fisheries sector in Africa”, also known as Fisheries Governance Project (FishGov).
The overall objective of the consultative workshop was to reinforce the capacity of the African coastal states for effective implementation of fisheries observer and fishing vessel register programmes. The specific objectives were to:
• Train African coastal states on the duties, obligations and responsibilities of fisheries observers onboard fishing vessels at sea, based on the manuals developed;
• Share perspectives on the effective and sustainable implementation of regional fisheries observers and regional fishing vessel programmes, with guidance from the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as well as the Regional Fisheries Bodies (RFBs) and other Regional mechanisms (RMs);
• Demonstrate the application of a database on regional fishing vessels that has been developed by AU-IBAR; and
• Deepen understanding and implications of the basic tenets of coastal, port and flag states measures and develop priority actions for effective implementation.
The meeting came at an opportune time following the approval of the Charter establishing the SADC Regional Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC) by SADC Council in August 2017, and the establishment an Interim Project Management Unit (IPMU) for the MCSCC by Ministers responsible for Fisheries in November 2017. Some of the key functions of the IPMU are to coordinate implementation of the regional fisheries observers and fishing vessel programmes, in an effort to strengthen national fisheries monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) systems.
AU-IBAR has been supporting SADC in the processes to establish the MCSCC, and one of the activities done in 2016 was to establish the Status of fisheries observer programmes in Southern Africa and develop a framework for a sea-based regional fisheries observer programme for the SADC region.
This work was also done in other regions of the continent. The reports were used to identify gaps at regional level and the workshop was used to initiate a process to fill those gaps, in line with the “AU-IBAR Manual on the duties, obligation and responsibilities of fisheries observers onboard fishing vessels.”
In addition, experiences, best practices and lessons learnt were shared particularly with respect to the effective and sustainable implementation of regional fisheries observers and regional fishing vessel registration programmes; and the African coastal states were practically trained in the use of a database on regional fishing vessel registration commissioned and developed by AU-IBAR.
The workshop also introduced participants to the basic tenets of coastal, port and flag states duties and, rights as well as the necessary priority actions to ensure national uptake and effective implementation of the various international instruments, as well as implementation of the coastal, port and flag state measures, a process which was started at the 36th meeting of the SADC Technical Committee on Fisheries held during December 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The harmonized scheme for boarding and inspection of industrial fishing vessels and a model for formulating treaty/agreements for regional cooperation on MCS were introduced to the participants, which is based on the model currently led by SADC in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) region, with support from AU-IBAR.
The workshop was attended by 41 participants representing the 18 African coastal states, and amongst there were seven (7) SADC Member States, viz. Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and United Republic of Tanzania. The RECs present were SADC, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). Other participants were drawn from the RFBs and Development Partners, amongst them were Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).