THE UNITED STATES JOINS FORCES WITH WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN COUNTRIES TO COMBAT ILLEGAL FISHING – Fisheries resources contribute to the food security of millions of people around the world, and are particularly important in island countries such as Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius and the Seychelles. According to the United Nations, more than 600 million people depend on fishing and aquaculture for their livelihoods, but fisheries resources are under increasing threat from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Despite measures taken at national and regional level to deter, combat and eliminate IUU fishing, this problem poses a significant threat to marine biodiversity, the livelihoods and food security of coastal communities, and undermines the potential for a sustainable and equitable regional blue economy.
Given the global nature of IUU fishing, solutions require effective regional and international collaboration.
To address these important issues, the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar and Comoros partnered with Blue Ventures Conservation Madagascar, the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy, and the Institut Halieutique et des Sciences Marines (IHSM) to bring together fisheries experts, government representatives, civil society and the private sector from these island nations from June 5-7 in Antananarivo.
The symposium is an important part of a larger US$227,000 grant awarded to Blue Ventures by the US State Department to promote public awareness, facilitate policy reform, develop a regional strategy to combat IUU fishing and strengthen the network of stakeholders in the Western Indian Ocean.
In his speech at the official opening of the symposium, the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Tsimanaoraty Paubert Mahatante, underlined the importance of this work for Madagascar:
“As part of the drive to improve fisheries governance, we have committed to joining the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), and today we have become a candidate country. Madagascar will soon have its own strategy and a national plan to combat IUU fishing, and intends to sign partnership agreements with NGOs such as Sea Shepherd and Global Fishing Watch to implement this document”.
In her pre-recorded opening remarks, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Fisheries and Polar Affairs at the US Department of State underlined the United States’ ongoing commitment:
“The fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global priority for the US government. Our embassies in the Western Indian Ocean island nations have made IUU fishing a central part of their work. … We encourage other nations in the region to consider joining the FiTI as well, and the Western Indian Ocean region could become a global leader in building greater collaboration and coordination on fisheries policy.”
THE UNITED STATES JOINS FORCES WITH WESTERN INDIAN OCEAN COUNTRIES TO COMBAT ILLEGAL FISHING