Background

Duration : Sept 2007 to March 2014

Following the commitments of Heads of States of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in favor of a strenghtened cooperation for a regional fisheries monitoring, adopted at the summit of Antananarivo July 22, 2005, the European Union provided technical assistance to study the contours of an operational regional fisheries control in the maritime areas of IOC Member States. This document has identified the available ressources and assess regional needs.

On 24 January 2007, the European Commission and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) have signed a framework partnership. It implements a regional plan for fisheries surveillance in the South Western Indian Ocean (hereinafter referred to as the Regional Plan or PRSP) that the five fisheries ministers agreed through a joint statement.

The Regional Fisheries Monitoring Plan was designed to be the main tool for the regional strategy for fisheries monitoring required by IOC Member States in strengthening cooperation between the operational structures, data exchange for the organization of regional joint patrols fisheries surveillance and fighting illegal fishing.

The Regional Fisheries Monitoring Plan has helped to strengthen national surveillance effort without substitution, pooling, coordinating and optimizing the use of patrol vessels of IOC Member States. With the use of new technologies and the sharing of data and information at regional level the 5 countries members want to fight against illegal fishing (IUU) and eradicate this scourge from South Western Indian Ocean.

The framework partnership agreement expired on 24 January 2011. Through three specific agreements, the Regional Fisheries Monitoring Plan has implemented three action plan from August 2007 to 31 December 2011, which show a strong regional commitment to the fight against illegal fishing. During this period of 4,5 years, 30 regional joint patrols were organized and coordinated by a regional group with representatives of the 5 fisheries monitoring centers gathered in a Regional Coordination Unit (CCR).

Following the mid-term review recommendations of the PRSP adopted by EU and the 5 countries members in October 20th 2011, it appears that the results and the implementation of the PRSP were very positive for fighting IUU fishing but also in term of regional integration. In this perspective, the report suggests the continuation of activities beyond the term of the Framework Partnership Agreement at the condition that they are based on a significant regional capacity data exchange (especially VMS) mobilizing complementary resources of the European Development Fund (EDF Xth) allocated to the monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) component implemented by IOC Smartfish program, involving in addition to new partners as, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and Mozambique.

Actually, IOC organized 35 joint patrols since 2007, in a 5,5 km2 maritime zone. From 2013 January to April, 2 fishing vessels have been arrested and 10 offenses have been reported to national authorities by regional inspections teams boarded on the patrols vessels in operation. The PRSP is still in progress!

General purpose

The objectives are reducing the number of vessels engaged in IUU fishing in the Indian Ocean area in order to enforce national laws and regional fisheries management measures and supervise the fisheries activities to promote the sustainability of this economic sector.

Specific objectives

The specific objective is to pool and share existing capacities of coastal states in the region to consolidate and perpetuate the regional MCS strategy by monitoring regional fisheries, through targeted and deterrent controls based on risk analysis.


Action plans

The establishment of a regional information system :

  • VMS data Exchanges
  • Remote sensing of fishing activities by satellite radar
  • Collection of other operational data by IOC
  • Observers datas
  • IOTC datas
  • Data from neighboring countries (South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia)
  • Datas from the regional strategy against piracy  and « Atalante »
  • Datas from vessels licensed
  • Establishment of an operational analysis group
  • Specific support to « Centre National de Contrôle et de Surveillance des Pêches » (Fisheries monitoring centre) in Comoros

Maritime and aerial patrols

  • Maritime joint patrols
  • Aerial patrols

Governance network for the coordination of activities

Regional coordination unit of the Regional Fisheries monitoring strategy

Communication

  • Press release about the IOC initiatives and activities and partnership with EU
  • Contribution to deter illegal fishing

Expected results

The expected results are :

  • At the regional level, operational coordination of joint patrols, regardless of the financing instrument, through a regional coordination unit which provides the overall governance of the regional strategy for fisheries surveillance.
  • At the regional level complementarities maritimes zones for joint patrols with both EDF and the DG Mare budget available. This thus includes Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia alongside IOC Member States.
  • At the regional level, optimized use of patrol vessels and aircrafts as well as new technologies such as radar satellite.
  • Regional integrated system for national and regional activities and a integrated network for fisheries officers working in the regional team during joint patrols.
  • At the regional level, an automatic exchange system for VMS data and a regional information with the creation of the operational analysis system cell device.
  • At the national level, MCS effort is strenghtened in the EEZ of each partners State.

Budget

12.000.000 Euros European Union cofinancing of IOC membres States at least 20%, from 2007 to 2014

Intervention areas

  • Comoros
  • France/Reunion Island
  • Madagascar
  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Mozambique

 

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