Stopping illegal fishing through cooperation, information-sharing and intelligence.

FISH-i Africa is a pioneer endeavour proving that, despite limited capacity, coastal countries can halt large-scale illegal fishing.

Uniting seven Southeast African coastal countries along the Western Indian Ocean, an unprecedented alliance is showing that regional cooperation, coupled with dedicated data analysis, can stop illegal catch getting to market, and prevent criminal fishers pursuing their lucrative business unhindered.

Accessing satellite tracking expertise and sharing data on vessels real-time, FISH-i Africa is a task force that enables authorities to identify and act against large-scale illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

Fish-i Africa comprises the Southeast African coastal states of Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Fleet service, transhipments and landings
Pre-fishing inspections
EEZ of Fish-i partner states
Maritime boundaries

The project involves FISH-i Africa country enforcement officials and international technical experts communicating regularly to share information on vessels, their licensing and movements, and suspected illegal fishing incidents.

With this information, the team uses advanced systems and techniques to track vessels and gather intelligence to build a better picture of what is happening and what to do about it. Tools and analysis help build the case for national agencies to take action. When combined with national and regional level commitments, the FISH-i concept is proving highly successful at identifying illegal activity and securing punitive action against actors.

The Indian Ocean is the second-largest tuna fishery in the world after the Pacific. Two-thirds of the main species here are considered to be either over or fully exploited.

Sustainable use of this high-value renewable resource is one of the key economic growth prospects for developing coastal States in the region as well as being a crucial source of animal protein.

Illegal large-scale fishing in this region is threatening economic and food security. Overall, it is estimated that one in four fish caught off Africa's coasts is taken illegally. It is a resource crime which must be stopped. See more about illegal fishing.

The mostly foreign-flagged industrial tuna fleet operating in the Western Indian Ocean nets an average 700,000 tonnes of yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack annually- worth up to $US 2 billion based on current market prices.

FISH-i Africa is connecting technical expertise, on-the-ground awareness, political capability and jurisdiction to act, and serves as a model framework for fighting IUU fishing elsewhere in the world. The taskforce has shown it is possible for countries, even on different sides of Africa, to cooperate to bring illegal actors to book.

FISH-i Africa is zeroing in on fisheries crime - making a dent in the profits of unscrupulous fishing companies and turning illegal fishing in to a high-risk, low reward activity.

The difference we are making

The FISH-i team has so far been integral to the investigation of complex cases that include instances of potentially stolen vessels, severe violations of international labour standards and seized vessels that escaped from port.

The perpetrators have included international players from Asia to Africa and the Middle East. Read some of our success stories to date.

The Premier, a South Korean purse seiner owned and operated by Dongwon Industries, was identified fishing illegally in Liberian waters. As knowledge of its illegal activities heightened, the Premier fled to the Indian Ocean to resume fishing. Due to quick and thorough information sharing among FISH-i countries, Kenya and Mozambique denied the Premier a license to fish, Tanzania refused to renew the vessel's license, and the Seychelles and Mauritius denied authorization for the Premier to offload its catch. This tightening noose, coupled with negative media attention the case generated, prompted Dongwon Industries to pay the Liberian government $2 million in settlement for the charges of illegal fishing and license forgery.
In mid-2013, the Hua Kun 168 and Hsiang Fa 26, two tuna longliners, were discovered fishing in Tanzanian waters without licenses. As the Fish-i Africa team investigated this case it exposed a large network distributing false Tanzanian fishing licenses. Since this discovery, many vessel owners whose boats had been fishing in Tanzanian waters with fraudulent licenses have started to obtain legal fishing licenses, notably boosting license revenue to the Tanzanian government.

Helping to make it happen

NEPAD provides FISH-i Africa with both legitimacy and a role within the wider policy and strategic framework of African fisheries. It is already showing potential as a model that could be developed in other African regions. Find out more about how NEPAD are working with SIF to stop IUU fishing.

FISH-i Africa is coordinated by the Stop Illegal Fishing working group of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordination Agency. Stop Illegal Fishing's role is to strengthen cooperation and coordination between governments and partners in order to support the African Union's and NEPAD's agendas and other pan-African and international processes to stop illegal fishing in African waters.

The Pew Charitable Trusts (PCT) has been a supporting partner to FISH-i Africa since its inception. PCT's wider Ending Illegal Fishing Project is working to ensure a sustainable future for our oceans by combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing around the world.

The FISH-i Task Force is using analytical and intelligence capacity provided by the Norway-based Fisheries Analytical Capacity Tank AS (FACT) through their services in identification of fishing vessels, monitoring of vessel movements and analysis of fishing fleets, ownership structures and of crimes associated with illegal fishing.

The FISH-i Task Force is using analytical and intelligence capacity provided by the Norway-based Fisheries Analytical Capacity Tank AS (FACT) through their services in identification of fishing vessels, monitoring of vessel movements and analysis of fishing fleets, ownership structures and of crimes associated with illegal fishing.

The FISH-i Task Force is being provided with technical support by Nordenfjeldske Development Services (NFDS) including tools and analysis in the form of risk assessments, legal opinions, investigative support, operational advice and policy advice.

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