Caught Red-Handed Workshops Strengthen Regional Networks across Maritime Agencies in the Western Indian Ocean

participants caught red handed workshop
Participants at the Caught Red-Handed workshop in Comoros.

Secure Fisheries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and United States Naval Forces Africa hosted the third round of Caught Red-Handed workshops in Port Louis, Mauritius; Antananarivo, Madagascar; and Moroni, Comoros. The workshops aim to combat illegal fishing by integrating intrastate, interstate, and regional governance coalitions of key fisheries stakeholders. This round of workshops featured presentations from US Navy LCDR Caitlyn Penley, including “Lessons Learned from the US Navy’s Maritime Domain Interoperability” and “Creating SOPs in the Collection of Fishing Vessel Information.” Significant developments include the following:

Mauritius

  1. Subhas Chandra Bauljeewon, divisional scientific officer for the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, and Shipping discussed the challenges of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in Mauritius;
  2. Workshop delegates recommended an increase in fishing vessel compliance and maritime observations through an increase in the number of onboard compliance officers (observers);
  3. Workshop delegates recommended the creation of an interagency task force that is empowered to take a leadership role in decision-making;
  4. Workshop delegates recommended the creation of a list that identifies licensed fishing vessels operating in the Mauritius Exclusive Economic Zone; and
  5. Workshop delegates recommended the creation of fishing vessel reports, combining vessel monitoring system and sightings information.

Madagascar

  1. CDR Franck Aimé Razafindraibe from the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre discussed international and regional efforts and agreements to collect maritime domain awareness information in Madagascar;
  2. Workshop delegates discussed the links between Madagascar’s National Maritime Information Centre and the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre;
  3. Workshop delegates identified key agency focal points for the collection of illegal fishing intelligence, including how it is collected, how it is stored, how it is analyzed, and how it is communicated to others; and
  4. Workshop delegates discussed a link between illegal fishing in Madagascar and other maritime crimes.

Comoros

  1. Workshop delegates identified key agency stakeholders in the collection of illegal fishing vessel information and intelligence;
  2. Workshop delegates recommended the creation of an interagency task force dedicated to illegal fisheries information collection and sharing; and
  3. Workshop delegates identified the need to integrate vessel tracking technologies with human intelligence and called for more coordination with regional states in responding to illegal fishing and leveraging maritime resources.

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