The 4th FISH-i Africa Task Force meeting took place in Zanzibar on 1st – 3rd December. The meeting was attended by the seven Task Force member countries of Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania with Maldives attending as an observer.
FISH-i Africa, since its foundation in 2012, has created a strong network of members committed to working together to end illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean and beyond. The sharing and exchange of information between members continues to be key to the success of the Task Force in identifying high-risk vessels and coordinating inspection and enforcement action.
Opening the meeting the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries in Zanzibar, the Honourable Kassim Juma commended the work of FISH-i Africa noting that Tanzania has been an active member of FISH-i, has de-flagged vessels and has experienced a 40% increase in revenues from licensing of vessels stating that “illegal operators are now wary of us”.
The FISH-i Task Force, building on strong cooperative working relationships, agreed to adopt a Terms of Reference that will guide the future operation of the Task Force. Kristín von Kistowski commented “the Task Force needed a solid framework to ensure political support and sustainability. The Terms of Reference spell out clearly what the Task Force aims to achieve, what it is and what it does.”
The Task Force celebrated the FAO award of the 2014-2015 Margarita Lizárraga Medal to Stop Illegal Fishing, as their flagship project FISH-i Africa embodies the description of SIF as ‘outstanding, practical, tangible and sustainable as well as catalytic’ by Árni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the FAO.
The meeting was closed by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, the Honourable Dr Maria Mashego who noted the importance of the work of FISH-i Africa and commended the dedication of all those involved.
The next Task Force meeting will take place in Mauritius in 2016.