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SADC Launches Atlantic Project to Combat Illegal Fishing

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Atlantic Project, aimed at tackling illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities, commenced its operations on February 20th, 2024, in Luanda, Angola.

The project, supported by Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, is a significant step towards curbing illicit fishing practices and organized crime in the fisheries industry.

Led by the SADC Regional Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC), the Atlantic Project seeks to enhance collaboration among member states and promote sustainable fishing practices within the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.

This initiative, funded by the Embassy of the United States (US) in Botswana, aims to bolster economic growth, environmental sustainability, and fisheries preservation in the region.

During the project’s inception, Her Excellency, Ms. Carmen dos Santos, the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources for Angola, reiterated her government’s commitment to combatting IUU fishing.

Minister dos Santos underscored the challenges faced by coastal SADC Member States due to increasing demand for fish and fisheries products and emphasized the need for robust monitoring, control, and surveillance measures.

Dr. Motseki Hlatshwayo, the Fisheries Technical Advisor at the SADC Secretariat, praised Angola’s support for the Atlantic Project and emphasized the significance of regional cooperation in managing fisheries resources.

He highlighted the positive impact achieved by similar initiatives in Namibia and South Africa and expressed confidence in Angola’s capacity to benefit from the project’s interventions.

In a show of support, the US Embassy in Luanda donated body cameras to facilitate remote monitoring and inspections of fishing vessels, enhancing the capabilities of officials in combating illegal fishing activities.

The project launch was accompanied by training sessions conducted in Luanda and Lobito, focusing on risk assessments for fishing vessels and skills development for the monitoring, control, and surveillance workforce. These sessions aim to strengthen the capacity to analyze risks associated with fishing vessels and enhance validation procedures.

Fisheries in the SADC region play a vital role in the economy, with significant contributions to employment, food security, and exports. By addressing IUU fishing, the SADC Atlantic Project endeavors to safeguard these valuable resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Additional source: SADC Secretariat

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