Skip to main content

EFCA supports the Western Africa fisheries control operation “PESCAO African Nemo” with satellite imagery analysis and aerial surveillance

Preliminary analysis of joint fisheries control operation “PESCAO African Nemo” in Cape Verde, Gambia and Senegal proves EFCA’s support successful and essential to enhance regional coordination and deter illegal fishing

Today sees the end of a successful fisheries control operation which has been ongoing since the 6 February the waters of Cape Verde, Gambia and Senegal in Western Africa, under the coordination of the Subregional Fisheries Commission (SRFC). The action counted on the support of the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), in the framework of the EU-funded Programme PESCAO and the French Navy, through the operation “Grand African NEMO 23.1.”. This cooperation is a very concrete illustration of the synergies between EU-funded and EU Member States initiatives on fisheries control and inspection in the region.

The EFCA and the SRFC, a regional fisheries body based in Dakar (Senegal) that brings together 7 Western African countries[1] to coordinate fisheries control and surveillance, established the single coordination centre in Praia (COSMAR), Cape Verde. The centre benefitted from the assistance by means of satellite imagery and vessels’ tracking systems analysis, provided by EFCA experts in real time, building on its experience in EU waters.

In addition, EFCA chartered an aircraft to carry out aerial surveillance throughout the whole operation, to facilitate the performance of sightings and detection of potential infringements. EFCA had noted the potential deterrent effect of the aerial means.- Also, a remote portal enabled EFCA and the coordination centre to follow the aerial surveillance in real time and provided live stream video and images of fishing vessels.

The operation  also involved  the French navy control means deployed in the area: a Falcon-50 surveillance plane and the patrol vessel “Premier maître L’Her”, who took on board a Cape Verdean inspector.

In addition, EFCA supported a search and rescue operation which was managed under the authority of the JRCC of CV after its aircraft intercepted a distress message from a sailing boat, which was promptly assisted by COSMAR.

“PESCAO African Nemo” is the 12th joint operation carried out under the framework of the EU-funded PESCAO programme, to which EFCA participates providing technical assistance to the SRFC and the Fisheries Committee of the West and Central Gulf of Guinea (based in Tema, Ghana), and their member countries. The PESCAO programme aims, amongst other objectives, at improving regional fisheries governance in Western Africa to fight illegal fishing, in order to maintain healthy fish stocks in a region of the world where fishing provides one of the main sources of protein and livelihoods to the local population.

[1] Cabo Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal, and Sierra Leone