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FAO assists Cabo Verde with first National Strategy and Action Plan to comply with international fisheries legal instruments

11/06/2024

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is assisting Cabo Verde with the preparation of its first National Strategy and Action Plan that will bring the country compliant with important international legal instruments that address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, in particular the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA).

During this week, between the 10 – 14 June, with the Ministry of the Sea in Cabo Verde, FAO is conducting a week-long multi-stakeholder workshop in Mindelo, in which senior officials and technical experts have convened to discuss current legislation, processes and tools of Cabo Verde that govern fisheries.

More than 20 participants, representing national agencies including fisheries, port, customs, police, coast guard, and health, discussed the main challenges and opportunities to improve existing frameworks to strengthen the monitoring, control and surveillance system, to increase cooperation, and to promote coordination.

The contributions of all stakeholders during this week will be taken into consideration in the preparation, by FAO, of a National Strategy and Action Plan for the Government of Cabo Verde’s endorsement. This will then lead towards the reviewing and alignment, as appropriate, of national policies, institutional and legal frameworks, as well as monitoring, control and surveillance systems and operations, so that the country will be fully compliant with provisions of the PSMA, and complementary international instruments and regional mechanisms that support sustainable fisheries. 

Addressing the opening of the workshop, Mr. Abraão Aníbal Barbosa Vicente, Minister of the Sea, said that “this is a collaborative effort. When we look at the 2050 horizon of an ocean without fish, we are talking about the need to combat overfishing, but also to create regulations that are adopted by everyone, that are actually enforced with an environmental conscience, of environmental protection practiced by everyone." He stressed that Cabo Verde is strongly committed and declared that “IUU fishing is a national enemy. IUU fishing is an economic scourge, let's put it like that before we say it's an environmental scourge. It is an economic scourge because it subtracts significant economic and natural resources from the countries and from Cabo Verde".

Ms Ana Laura Touza, FAO Representative in Cabo Verde, said that “Cabo Verde has made a strong commitment to fisheries and the Blue Economy, which FAO will continue to support. Several projects and initiatives, either underway or completed, demonstrate this commitment. The fisheries sector is one of the priorities of the new Country Programming Framework for the period 2023-2027.This workshop is another step in our contribution to Cabo Verde's efforts to combat IUU fishing and implement the PSMA”.

The PSMA, which entered into force in 2016, is the first binding international agreement to specifically target IUU fishing. It is also the Agreement with the highest rate of adherence so far, of all international fisheries and ocean instruments, currently with 78 Parties representing 104 States and territories. Cabo Verde became a Party to the PSMA in 2016.

IUU fishing is globally estimated to be responsible for annual catches of up to 26 million tonnes of fish, with a value possibly reaching USD 23 billion. It is a major threat to the sustainability of fisheries resources and to marine ecosystems in general, undermining the sustainable management of fisheries and marine resources. IUU fishing also threatens the livelihoods of legitimate fishers, and food security.

This activity was developed under the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme to catalyze the implementation of the PSMA in the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste).

More information about the PSMA is available here. More information about FAO’s work to assist in combatting IUU fishing, is available here.