ECOWAS - Economic Community of West African States

11/08/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/08/2018 10:03

First steering committee of the regional fisheries governance programme holds in Abuja

Abuja, 7th November 2018. The first Steering Committee of the Programme for Regional Fisheries Governance in Western Africa (PESCAO) will be held between the 7th and 8th November 2018 in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Steering committee jointly chaired by the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union Commission, is a platform for policy dialogue on fisheries issues in Western Africa with the development partners.

The meeting is being convened in order to establish long-term goals of the project as well as to discuss the global work plan and corresponding budget.

The Committee also has the mandate for the overall monitoring of the programme associated with key regional organizations.

On its own, the PESCAO Programme aims at improving regional fisheries governance in Western Africa through better coordination of national fisheries policies by supporting ECOWAS in developing a framework for regional fisheries priorities and facilitating cooperation with sub-regional organizations and development partners.

Additionally, it is primed to build on the capacities of competent national and regional monitoring, control and surveillance authorities to deter Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In this regard, accomplishing the programme's objectives will be through the setting up of a partnership with the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC), the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) as well as the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA).

It has been submitted by experts that the current management of fisheries in the region is a threat to food security, means of subsistence and marine biodiversity even as climate change is likely to exacerbate this situation.

Key problems and issues to be addressed include poor management of fish stocks, the importance of IUU fishing, and lack of coordination and cooperation among regional institutions and national competent authorities.

Members of the Steering Committee are expected to make recommendations on the coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the project in view of achieving the expected results and objectives of the PESCAO programme.

Beneficiary countries of the programme include all ECOWAS Member States covered by the EU-West Africa Regional Indicative Programme (i.e. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) as well as Mauritania with a specific focus on coastal countries.