Ebène (Mauritius),15 August 2020

National representatives of the 8 member countries of the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Program have been appointed within the framework of E€OFISH activities. Following this appointment, actions to fight IUU activities can resume in the region.

Tackling illegal activities is feasible as long as there is a strong willingness to go ahead and coordination between parties. The PRSP coordinated by the IOC in the SWIO region is overall a mechanism that has shown its efficiency. The success of the Joint Fisheries Patrol programme of the PRSP is intended to be used as a modality for developing a Joint Maritime Patrolling under the MASE programme. It needs to be aligned at the national level with deterring laws and regulations where Competent Authorities are provided with adequate financial and human resources for the MCS mechanisms to be smartly guided and fully operational.

The prosecution of the IUU cases at national and regional levels must be systematically engaged in full transparency. The main objective of the MCS programme is not only focused on IUU vessels but shifted to primarily contribute to the conservation and management of the tuna and tuna-like species through the enforcement of the applicable RFMO’s resolutions.

The cooperation with the participating countries should be extended to joint inspections in ports and in high seas on the industrial vessels flagged by the participating countries. The joint collaboration with SWIOFISH1 programme in the implementation of the PRSP is another lesson that could be considered for replication under the present programme. With the growing incidence of IUU fishing in the region, there was a strong commitment by Participating States at the last PRSP Ministerial Meeting of July 2017 to ensure the sustainability of the PRSP and extend its geographical coverage. Both EU (under E€OFISH programme) and World Bank (SWIOFISH programme) had committed to further supporting PRSP.