"Operation" Sardinelle ", a fishery surveillance operation in which Member States of the Sub-regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) cooperated to detect Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, took place from 23 to 26 January 2020.
This fisheries surveillance operation was entirely funded by the European Union via the PESCAO program and coordinated and organized by the SRFC. This operation received technical support from EFCA and operational support from France. Representatives of the Fisheries Committee of the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) and of the Gulf of Guinea Inter-regional Network (EU-GOGIN) project participated to the surveillance operation as observers. All participating SRFC Member States made available their updated national list of authorized fishing vessels.
The technical equipment of the national Fisheries Monitoring Centres (e.g. VMS, AIS, radars) as well as the information from the Integrated Maritime Services and satellite images (Copernicus) provided by EFCA made it possible to direct the patrol means to the suspected vessels. Correlations conducted on images collected from "Open Source" satellite services, were also conducted by the SRFC.
The fishery surveillance operation resulted in 58 vessel inspections with the detection of 9 possible non-compliances which are the subject of an investigation by the competent authorities of the Member States concerned.
Covering an area of approximately 1.1 million square kilometers, including the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of Cabo Verde, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia, operation "Sardinelle" was coordinated from Senegal FMC and run by the staff of the MCS structures of the Member States involved.
Each SRFC Member State deployed a patrol vessel that patrolled their respective EEZ. The patrol vessel "FERLO" from Senegal and "CDT BOUAN" from the French Navy surveyed the EEZ of The Gambia. Two fishing inspectors from The Gambia were assigned to each of these patrol vessels.
The operation "Sardinelle" was another action organized under the PESCAO project that meets the broader objective of the project, which is the sustainable development and management of fisheries in the West African region. This fisheries surveillance operation complements those already carried out in 2018 and 2019 in the SRFC area.