The government of Madagascar has approved the move to sign the SADC (South African Development Community) Charter establishing the SADC Regional Fisheries Monitoring Control Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC) on April 28, the regional bloc said on Friday.
The objective of the charter is to provide a legal framework for the establishment and operationalisation of the MCSCC, which will coordinate measures relating to fisheries monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) in the SADC region.
During the signing ceremony the Minister of Fisheries and Blue Economy of Madagascar, Dr Paubert T Mahatante said that IUU fishing is a global problem that requires a global approach and advocated for SADC member states to work together towards finding a regional solution.
“Madagascar already has a network of MCS infrastructure and maritime security, which will benefit the regional efforts in combating IUU fishing and fisheries related crimes. The country is also strategically positioned as a sub-hub to provide better co-ordination of sub-regional efforts in the South West Indian Ocean sub-region.”
Madagascar becomes the 10th member state party to the charter aimed at establishing MCSCC, joining Angola, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia.
Two thirds of the SADC member states are required to sign the charter for it to enter into force, and Mahatante has made a commitment to join the Minister of Seas, Inland Waters and Fisheries of Mozambique to encourage other SADC Ministers who have not yet signed the charter to do so. IUU fishing is one of the main causes of overfishing and a barrier to achieving sustainable management of fish stocks in the SADC region.
Overfishing causes economic losses to SADC countries with overfished stocks being less productive and contributing less to the socio-economy of the region.
In cases where stocks collapse, the effect can be devastating for coastal communities that depend on them for nutrition and livelihoods.
The Regional MCSCC will assist the SADC region, in providing a sustainable and secure future for its citizens by contributing to sustainable fisheries, empower communities, and build sustainable ecosystems.
The centre will co-ordinate regional fisheries MCS data and information sharing services, including a regional fishing vessel register and a monitoring system; provide regional fisheries surveillance, observer co-ordination services, and Port State measures implementation support services. It will also provide fisheries law enforcement and legal support services, and improve capacity of national MCS in member states.