TAKEAWAYS FROM THE 11th MEETING OF THE EXTENDED REGIONAL COORDINATION UNIT (ERCU) OF THE REGIONAL FISHERIES MONITORING PLAN (PRSP)
The 11th meeting of the PRSP’s ERCU, chaired by Jérôme Lafon, Director of the South Indian Ocean Sea, and representative of France/Réunion, was held on 1st and 2nd February 2023 in Sainte Clotilde, Réunion. The representatives of Comoros, France/Réunion, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania discussed various issues, such as the PRSP’s operations and the improvement of its functioning.
PRSP’S OPERATIONS: START OF REGIONAL PATROLS FUNDED BY GRANTS AND FULL USE OF THE FEDER/INTERREG FUNDS
The ERCU welcomes the 60 regional fisheries patrols completed so far under the PRSP, and notes the resulting gradual decrease in serious infringements in the PRSP zone of cooperation.
The Unit appreciates the fact that Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania have started using the European Union grants in the last three regional missions. The ERCU encourages all PRSP participating countries to fast-track the implementation of activities financed by these funds, which amount to 2 million euros and which should be used before September 2024. The Unit also urges participating countries to report regularly on the initiatives carried out under these grants and welcomes the possible extension of the implementation period of ECOFISH Programme and, therefore, the funds received.
The ERCU commends Region Reunion for its grant of 1,430,000 euros through the FEDER/INTERREG funds. These funds have been fully used to date and have recently enabled the PRSP to carry out 5 regional fisheries patrols at sea.
The ERCU notes that 5 other joint patrol missions at sea for regional fisheries monitoring have been planned for 2023.
IMPROVING THE PRSP’S OPERATIONS: EFFECTIVENESS, GOVERNANCE AND SUSTAINABILITY
The ERCU welcomes the efforts to make the PRSP more effective and urges the Indian Ocean Commission to pursue discussions to ensure synergy between the PRSP and SADC’s Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (SADC MCS CC), the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA), the two MASE regional centers and the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA).
The ERCU also takes note of the progress made in expanding the information exchange legal framework of the PRSP. In addition to information on vessels and their movements, the exchanged data should cover other fisheries information in general as well and include all PRSP participating countries, not just IOC member countries.
ERCU members support all efforts made to ensure the sustainability of the PRSP and endorse the proposed plan in this regard as well as the recommendations of the consultancy work on the development of a formal governance framework for PRSP. Moreover, the ERCU takes note of the proposed governance framework, as well as the revision of the legal framework and existing instruments (information exchange protocol, ERCU terms of reference, administrative arrangement…).
Finally, the ERCU notes that its 12th meeting will be held in May 2023, and the 3rd Ministerial Conference on Fisheries in September 2023, to speed up the implementation of the above various initiatives and recommendations.
WHAT IS THE PRSP?
The PRSP fights against illegal fishing by pooling the means and efforts of the countries in the region, namely the Comoros, France/La Reunion, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Tanzania and Seychelles. This mechanism complements national fisheries surveillance efforts. Through the PRSP, the initiatives of the region and its participating countries aimed at protecting fisheries resources are increasingly effective.
More information : www.ecofish-programme.org/prsp