Who's In Your Backyard? Strengthening Maritime Domain Awareness in the Indian Ocean

Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is vital to combating illegal fishing and fisheries-related conflict, achieving maritime security, and developing the blue economy. Unfortunately, many Indian Ocean coastal states have low capacity to achieve MDA. They often have few law enforcement vessels capable of patrolling their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and lack effective navies, coast guards, or air force resources capable of ensuring maritime rule of law.

This brief highlights five state-based solutions, developed with delegates during the Caught Red-Handed workshops, to increase maritime domain awareness and decrease illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean.

The 2018 Caught Red-Handed workshops hosted by Secure Fisheries, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and U.S. Naval Forces Africa were conducted in ten Indian Ocean countries to maximize participation from local maritime agencies. This brief is the second in a series of papers synthesizing ideas from workshop participants about ways forward in combating illegal fishing.