The SADC Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre – set to enter into force in April 2023
5 April 2023
The Republic of Botswana became the eleventh signatory of the Charter establishing the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Fisheries Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC) on 09 March 2023. The signing took place at a ceremony in Gaborone, Botswana, with guest of honour, Honourable Molebatsi Shimane Molebatsi, Assistant Minister of Agriculture in Botswana signing the Charter, in the presence of the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration Ms Angele Makomo N’tumba. The signing translates into – reaching the two thirds majority mark required for the Charter to enter into force in order for the Regional MCSCC to be established to assist the region in prioritising the protection of fisheries to underpin greater benefits and blue economy growth.
The MCSCC will coordinate regional fisheries data and information sharing services, a regional fishing vessel register, provide fisheries surveillance services, coordinate fisheries observers and support the implementation of port state measures, provide fisheries enforcement and legal support services, and support improvements in the capacity of national MCS systems.
The Charter will officially enter into force in 30 days, as now two-thirds of Member States have signed. The MCSCC will be based in Maputo, Katembe municipal district, and the Government of Mozambique is ready to implement this with support from other SADC Member States, and funding from the World Bank. Land has already been secured and prepared for the construction of the Centre in Katembe.
Messages of support and commitments to continue cooperation with SADC in realising this centre were received during the ceremony from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), United States (US) Embassy to Botswana, United Kingdom (UK) High Commission to Botswana, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF).
In his keynote address, Honourable Molebatsi Shimane Molebatsi, Assistant Minister of Agriculture in Botswana stated that “By uniting through the Regional Fisheries Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC), coordinated schemes for inspection of fishing vessels and gears, coordinated border controls to monitor fish trade, shared intelligence and information and the cooperative use of remote and physical inspection tools, robust protection for a region, their resources and their markets are developed. When resources are pooled together, they are strengthened, made more efficient and support wider and more comprehensive detection of illegal operators creating a real barrier and deterrence to IUU fishing”.
Ms Angele Makomo N’tumba, Deputy Executive Secretary-Regional Integration at SADC Secretariat, echoed Ssemakula’s sentiments, indicating that “The realisation of this Centre marks a turning point, from which we now have the means to facilitate our full collaboration to protect our fisheries for our common future. We have now moved closer to realizing the aspirations of the region as contained in the 2008 Statement of Commitment to Combat IUU Fishing by SADC Ministers of Fisheries”.