Inaugural meeting of the SADC MCSCC Task Force – a giant step for regional cooperation on fisheries

December 08 2023

    On 6- 8 December 2023, representatives of the signatory countries to the MCSCC Charter gathered in cape Town for the first meeting of the SADC MCSCC Operational Task Force. A new milestone for cooperation on the protection of the region’s fisheries, which advances further the processes for the operationalization of the SADC Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC).

    “We want a better future, together” – it is with these words that Motseki HIatshwayo, fisheries technical advisor at the SADC Secretariat, summarized the long-lasting commitment of SADC member States to the protection of the region’s fisheries.

    After the adoption of the Protocol on Fisheries in 2001 and the Statement of Commitment to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2008, the recent entry into force of the Charter for the establishment of the SADC MCSCC in April 2023 gives the region the means to realize the vision promoted by the SADC Fisheries Ministers for over two decades.

    A major outcome was the agreement of the Task Force on the following basic requirements to be eligible for the SADC Regional Register of Fishing Vessels:

    • the vessel is not listed on an RFMO IUU vessel list,
    • the vessel does not have an INTERPOL IUU alert issued against it,
    • there is a flag State authorization for the vessel to fish outside of the flag State, and
    • the vessel has an IMO number.

    The Task Force mandated the MCSCC to prepare a proposal for minimum criteria for the SADC Regional Register of Fishing Vessels and a plan for implementation to be shared before, and discussed at, the second meeting of the MCSCC Task Force. Stop Illegal Fishing will assist the MCSCC in elaborating these documents.

    The Task Force meeting was supported by the Oceans Vigilance project of the MCSCC, implemented by SIF and TMT and resourced by Oceans 5, and by a project of the MCSCC implemented by WWF in Mozambique. The Oceans Vigilance project is working to support the SADC Member States to implement the Regional Register and through this to improve transparency in the region.