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

 
 
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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 and technical expertise can stop illegal catch getting to market, and prevent criminal fishers pursuing their lucrative business unhindered. 

Sharing vessel data real-time and accessing satellite tracking expertise, FISH-i Africa is a Task Force that enables authorities to identify and act against large-scale illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. 

The aim is to build a robust and effective mechanism to catalyse enforcement actions and ultimately to secure a sustainable end to illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean.

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

 
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The Indian Ocean is the second-largest tuna fishery in the world after the Pacific. 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 that must be stopped.

In FISH-i Africa, country representatives (Task Force) and international technical experts (Technical Team) use advanced analytical tools, systems and investigative techniques to identify and track vessels to gather and share intelligence about illegal fishing operations and responsible actors.

Through the systematic compilation, and exchange of information and involvement in illegal fishing cases, the FISH-i partners get a better understanding of the nature and patterns of illegal fishing operations in the Western Indian Ocean and how to improve controls.

Where Oceans
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The Indian Ocean is the second-largest tuna fishery in the world after the Pacific. 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.

Problem Sustainability & Economic Growth
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Illegal large-scale fishing in this region is threatening economic and food security. It must be stopped.  Overall it is estimated that one in four fish caught off Africa’s coasts is taken illegally. It is a resource crime that must be stopped.

Solution Task force
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In FISH-i Africa, country representatives (Task Force) and international technical experts (Technical Team) use advanced analytical tools, systems and investigative techniques to identify and track vessels to gather and share intelligence about illegal fishing operations and responsible actors.

Through the systematic compilation, and exchange of information and involvement in illegal fishing cases, the FISH-i partners get a better understanding of the nature and patterns of illegal fishing operations in the Western Indian Ocean and how to improve controls.

Illegal Fishing Trends

Four major trends of illegal fishing have been found to be characteristic and reoccurring in the documented cases in this region. These trends are by no means exclusive and a case of illegal fishing may combine several illegal activities or wrongdoings.

Our Taskforce

Zaho_El_Kharousy

Zahor El Kharousy

Tanzania

‘FISH-i Africa shows how easy it can be to actually cooperate between the different countries and how much that simple thing of writing an email can help a manager in terms of fighting illegal fishing.’

Maria_Eulalia_Vales

Maria Eulalia Vales

Mozambique

‘I believe that with effort from all of us, if we cooperate we can eliminate illegal activities and that our populations will have more fish on the plate.’

Roy_Clarisse

Roy Clarisse

Seychelles

‘FISH-i Africa sends a strong signal that there is collaboration, working together against IUU fishing, there is no port that a vessel can go to and offload its illegal catch because this network shares information all around.’

Nicholas_Ntheketha

Nicholas Nketheka

Kenya

‘Especially for countries with no VMS, it is very important that FISH-i Africa should be expanded. I’m excited! The project is very good.’

Boina_Said

Boina Said

Comoros

‘With just a simple internet connection we can communicate with each other and this way, without expensive technology, we can protect our waters and resources.’

Satish_Dwarka

Satish Dwarka

Mauritius

‘When you cannot fight singly you have to join hands, and when you join hands, you feel more courageous – this I sincerely believe is going to close the door on IUU fishing.’

Naivo

Naivo Rakotoniaina

Madagascar

‘Illegal fishing is a big problem for Madagascar, it means economic losses for us. It is vital that we join forces with neighbouring countries and regional bodies to face this problem.’

 

Our Activities

The FISH-i Task Force has been integral to the investigation of several complex cases involving players from Asia to Africa to the Middle East. Here are some examples of the types of cases FISH-i Africa works on which can be made public. In many ongoing cases, the work of the Task Force must remain confidential.

Port measures

In late 2012, the fishing vessel Premier, a South Korean purse seine vessel moved from West Africa to the Indian Ocean in an attempt to escape from its infamous illegal fishing past. Unknown to the owners, FISH-i Africa was aware of this illegal past and the Task Force unanimously united to make the vessel unwelcome in their waters by denying the vessel access to fishing licences and ports. These denials greatly increased the operational costs for the owner, while the associated negative media tainted their image and reduced the selling price of their company’s fish. Ultimately this pressure led to the owner paying a two million U.S. dollar settlement to the Liberian government for illegal fishing charges.

Read the case study

Document checks

In mid-2012, two tuna longliners, were discovered fishing without licenses in Tanzanian waters. Further investigations disclosed a much larger network of distribution of fraudulent Tanzanian fishing licenses. Since this discovery, work to uncover further information is underway and relevant authorities are preparing to take enforcement action against the IUU fishing operators. As a result, some of the vessels that had been fishing with fraudulent fishing licenses have now obtained legal fishing licenses, resulting in increased government revenue both in Tanzania and Kenya.

De-registering fishing vessels

Based on an initial lead from the Australian government and following various communications and cross-checks it was discovered that three vessels that are listed on an IUU fishing vessel list outside of the FISH-i Africa region had been unwittingly flagged in one of the FISH-i countries. In response, in September 2013, the three IUU fishing listed vessels were de-registered.

Vessel ID checks

In October 2013, a tuna long liner was arrested and confiscated by South Africa for illegally fishing in its waters. FISH-i Africa investigations showed irregularities between how the vessel looked and earlier photos of the legitimate vessel under the same name, suggesting that it may have been stolen and names switched to cover-up its illegal past. Links were also uncovered between the vessel owner and a vessel that had been arrested by Tanzania in 2009 for illegal fishing, casting yet more suspicion into the case.

Vessel tracking and location

In December 2013 two of ten vessels that were being held in South Africa for illegal fishing fled the port of Cape Town in contravention of an arrest order. To escalate the search for the two missing vessels to an international level, in January 2014, Interpol issued a Purple Notice. FISH-i Africa was actively searching for vessels when it located them heading for Mombasa, Kenya, in February 2014 as well as uncovering a change in the vessels’ registration.

Supporters

Tony_Long

Tony Long

Director, Ending Illegal Fishing Project, PCT

‘A vessel cannot hide behind red tape or slip away by crossing national borders. FISH-i is shutting out illegal catch from the market.”  

Minister_Peter_Sinon

Peter Sinon

Minister of Natural Resources, Seychelles

‘The illegal fishers would play us one against the other, be clean in one port and illegal in another. This is not any more possible or acceptable – as we have acted against it.’

Geofrey_Nanyaro

Geofrey Nanyaro

Chairperson, Stop Illegal Fishing

‘FISH-i Africa – I would say from my experience in the field of 39 years – is the cheapest but the most effective method I ever saw, anywhere.’

Sloans

Dr. Sloans Chimatiro

Senior Fisheries Advisor of NEPAD.

“We commend the efforts of PEW because now we have excellent examples and practical experience which we can scale up to other parts of the continent.”

Minister_borges

Victor Borges

Minister of Fisheries, Mozambique

‘If politicians like me, all over the world, would enforce those in the frontline combating IUU fishing so that they feel they’ve got strong political support, they are much more committed than if they don’t get that support.’

 

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 (SIF) working group of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordination Agency. SIF ’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 uses analytical and intelligence capacity provided by the Norway-based Fisheries Analytical Capacity Tank AS (FACT). FACT provides services in identification and tracking of fishing vessels, analysis of fishing fleets, of ownership structures (hidden and open) and of crimes associated with illegal fishing such as corruption, document fraud and money laundering. FACT has developed from the work of the Trygg Mat Foundation (www.tryggmat.no) which has been involved in this work for a decade.

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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Events

FISH-i Africa at The US State Department on the 16th – 17th of June 2014

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News

The mystery of the tuna longliner NAHAM-4

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News

FISH-i Africa at COFI on the 9th – 13th of June 2014

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News

Somalia cracks down on illegal fishing

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News

Tuna fishing mismanagement denies Tanzania USD5bn annually

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