The International MCS Network’s 5th Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop (GFETW) is taking place in Auckland, New Zealand between 7th and 11th March. Close to 200 delegates from 60 countries have gathered to discuss the latest tactics in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing across the globe. The Minister of Food and Safety and Associate Minister of Primary Industries Hon. Jo Goodhew gave the ministerial address during the welcoming ceremony on behalf of the host nation. She particularly emphasised the need for global cooperation and information sharing to deal with IUU fishing.

Speaking on the first day during the panel on International and Regional MCS Cooperation, Nicholas Ntheketha, Chair of the FISH-i Africa Task Force, was able to share the story of the success that FISH-i Africa has had in fighting illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean. This has been achieved through the cooperation and trust that has been established between the like-minded states of Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania. Somalia has recently joined the network as the 8th member.

‘The cheapest tool in fighting IUU fishing is sharing information and intelligence, and through co-operation with all MCS actors and practitioners’ stated Ntheketha ‘it is through cooperation and information sharing that FISH-i Africa are making sure that enforcement actions happen.’

‘We want to continue transforming illegal fishing into a high risk – low reward activity and to do this it is vital that countries continue to work together. We hope to build on our achievements by sharing more data than is currently shared; incorporating other countries into the taskforce; and standardising our MCS procedures.’

Ntheketha concluded ‘we hope to encourage replication of the FISH-i Africa model in other regions around the world. We are already looking for ways to cooperate with the recently established West Africa Task Force. More and more cooperation will see us win against the illegal operators.’