AECP supports the West African fisheries control operation “PESCAO – African Nemo” through satellite image analysis and aerial surveillance – Preliminary analysis of the joint fisheries control operation “PESCAO – African Nemo” in Cape Verde, Gambia and Senegal shows that AECP support is effective and essential to strengthen regional coordination and deter illegal fishing.
Today, a fisheries control operation covering the waters of Cape Verde, Gambia and Senegal in West Africa was successfully completed. The two-week joint campaign was coordinated by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC). The operation was supported by the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), under the EU-funded PESCAO programme, and the French Navy, under the “Grand African NEMO 23.1” operation. This cooperation is a very concrete example of the synergies between EU-funded initiatives and those of the EU Member States in the field of fisheries control and inspection in the region.
The AECP and the SRFC, a regional fisheries body based in Dakar (Senegal), which brings together 7 West African countries (Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone) to coordinate fisheries control and surveillance, have established the coordination centre in Praia (COSMAR), Cape Verde. The centre benefited from real-time analysis of satellite imagery and vessel tracking systems by AECP experts, drawing on its experience in EU waters.
In addition, the AECP chartered an aircraft to provide aerial surveillance throughout the operation to facilitate observations and the detection of potential infringements. The AECP noted the potential deterrent effect of aerial means. A remote portal allowed the AECP and the coordination centre to monitor the aerial surveillance in real time and provided live video and images of the fishing vessels.
The operation also involved the French Navy’s control means deployed in the area, including a Falcon-50 surveillance aircraft and the patrol vessel “Premier Maître L’Her”, which embarked a Cape Verdean inspector.
In addition, the AECP supported a search and rescue operation that was managed under the authority of the Cape Verde Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, after its aircraft intercepted a distress call from a sailing vessel, which was quickly assisted by COSMAR.
“PESCAO – African Nemo” is the 12th joint control operation organised in the framework of the EU-funded PESCAO programme, in which the AECP participates by providing technical assistance to the SRFC and the Western and Central Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Committee (based in Tema, Ghana), as well as to their member countries. The PESCAO programme aims, among other objectives, to improve regional fisheries governance in West Africa to combat illegal fishing, in order to maintain healthy fish stocks in a region of the world where fishing is one of the main sources of protein and livelihood for the local population.
AECP supports the West African fisheries control operation “PESCAO – African Nemo” through satellite image analysis and aerial surveillance