Three West African countries have forged a partnership to implement a joint fisheries’ observer program as part of their effort to ensure safe, secure, and legal fisheries are maintained across the Gulf of Guinea.
Ghana has signed a pact with Togo and Benin to carry out the joint monitoring of the countries’ fisheries, including sharing intelligence supplied by the Regional Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance Centre (RMCSC) that was created in the first quarter of 2021 by Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC), whose membership include Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Togo.
Although Cote d’Ivoire is expected to be part of the pact, the country did not sign at the same time as the other three countries – all of them members of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Ghana’s joint fisheries monitoring pact came shortly after the successful conclusion of the 13th session of the Conference of Ministers of the FCWC – held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on 17 December, 2021 – where participants emphasized the need for a closer working relationship to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Ghana courted Togo and Benin shortly after the two countries carried out their first sub-regional joint patrol operation, dubbed “Isaac Gatorwu,” with the financial backing of the European Union’s Improved Regional Fisheries Governance (PESCAO) project.
Other partners involved in the joint fishery observer mission include Abidjan-based Regional Center for Maritime Security of West Africa (CRESMAO), European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), Multinational Maritime Coordination Centres (MMCC) Zones E and F, and Trygg Mat Tracking with Norad funding.
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