Indian Ocean Commission won international "Stop IUU Fishing Awards 2016"

GOPA RDE: Initiatives by EU's IOC-Smartfish project gained double awards in the combat of illegal, unreported & unregulated fishing...

At the 5th Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop in Auckland, New Zealand, on 10 March 2016, the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (IMCS) Network awarded the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) two "Stop IUU Fishing Awards", in recognition of two fisheries surveillance initiatives.

The award winners were selected by an international panel of judges, composed of leading experts in the field of MCS. Their aim was to recognise innovative solutions, for use in both small and large-scale fisheries, to deter Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. 

The IOC won first prize for a pilot project aiming to demonstrate to local government authorities potential for increasing revenue streams derived from fisheries. Registration and licensing of vessels can be improved through adopting better inspection methods of determining compliance with local vessel-registration criteria.

Commenting on the awarding of the prize, Michele Kuruc, Vice-President of the Ocean Policy, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and Cephase Ralph, Chair of IMCS Network, said "the judges agreed unanimously on a first-place winner which reflected an innovative, ingenious and very low-cost solution."

The second prize was also awarded to the IOC for its work in supporting the implementation of the Multi-Agency Task Team (MATT) to address organised environmental criminality, including fisheries crimes. The MATT's work has focused on facilitating a collaborative and inclusive approach to addressing the problem of dynamite and blast fishing in Tanzania.

On receiving the award, Marcel Kroese, IOC-SmartFish MCS Expert, commented, "thanks to the support of the European Union, the IOC-SmartFish programme has been working to combat illegal fishing in East Africa over the past 4 years. It's truly gratifying to have our hard work and achievements rewarded so resoundingly by the International MCS Network."

The IOC-Smartfish project was supported by an EU-TA contract awarded in 2011 to a consortium led by Agrotec with GOPA as a member. We are very happy to see that our efforts over the implementation period of five years have been recognised and appreciated by the fishing community. Congratulations to our TA team!

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