The ECOFISH Blue Economy Programme, supported by Incatema, makes major breakthroughs against illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean through the delivery of surveillance equipment

28 December, 2022

Last December, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) placed security and surveillance equipment at the disposal of the inspectors of the countries that are part of the Regional Fisheries Monitoring Plan (RFMP) to help combat illegal fishing in the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region. At an event held on the island of Mauritius, equipment was delivered that will contribute to facilitate and improve the information security in reporting and promote transparency in the fulfilment of their mission.

This action falls under ECOFISH, a programme financed by the European Union and which is implemented in several Western Indian Ocean countries. The mission of the programme, to which Incatema provides technical assistance, is to guarantee the sustainable management of marine resources by implementing regional fisheries policies that will enable efficient management and the promotion of fishing good practices.

The Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles and Tanzania are the seven countries participating in the Regional Fisheries Monitoring Plan that received security and surveillance materials and equipment for their fishing inspections. The equipment consists of 20 buoyancy suits, portable GPS devices, recorders, on-board cameras and waterproof cameras, in addition to computer equipment such as laptops and tablets. This action consolidates the achievements of the Plan, the regional co-operation mechanism financed by the European Union through ECOFISH to secure the future of the region's fisheries in a sustainable manner by combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF).

Fishing offences classified as serious have decreased in the last 15 years

The RFMP regional fisheries surveillance missions have contributed to deterring potential illegal fishermen and women from venturing into the region's waters. The proportion of serious offences has decreased considerably since the Regional Fisheries Surveillance Plan was established. In 2007, 30% of the offences detected during the first mission were serious, but today the situation has improved and all the offences detected during the last mission in November 2022 were minor.

As Ana Romero, Head of the Consulting Department at Incatema, points out, "we are proud to contribute technically through ECOFISH to the sustainable and responsible use and management of fisheries resources, so that the people who depend on them can continue to earn their living and contribute to the local economy of their communities".

The exploitation of marine resources contributes significantly to the economy of the Western Indian Ocean region. The protection of these fisheries resources is essential, since fishing in the Southeastern Indian Ocean accounts for 20% of world tuna catches. Hence the importance of adopting good governance principles for effective fisheries management that will contribute to economic growth, food security and livelihoods in the region.

About the ECOFISH Programme

The fisheries resources, both continental and marine, of the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region represent a natural wealth worth approximately EUR 50,000 million. The ECOFISH Programme strives to ensure the sustainable management of this wealth by establishing policies for the effective management, protection and promotion of good fishing practices, which you can read about here.