Regional Cooperation for Sustainable Fisheries Resource Management in Africa: Venâncio S. Gomes’ Expectations at the Regional Workshop of Atlantic Coastal States
The regional workshop on Access Agreements to Fisheries Resources of Atlantic Coastal States was held on October 25th and 26th in Abidjan, organized by the Ministerial Conference on Fisheries Cooperation among African States bordering the Atlantic Ocean. ATLAFCO. The main objective was to acquire the necessary knowledge to better defend the interests of coastal states while ensuring sustainable resource exploitation. At the end of the event, Venâncio S. Gomes, Deputy Secretary-General for Natural Resource Management of the Gulf of Guinea Committee, shared his expectations and key concerns for this important meeting in an interview with the General Coordinator of the Media Observatory for Sustainable Fishing in Africa.
According to Venâncio S. Gomes, a profound understanding of the issues related to fishing and resource management is essential to guarantee a prosperous future in the Gulf of Guinea region.
The specific role of the Gulf of Guinea Committee (GGC) in regional fisheries cooperation was also highlighted by Venâncio S. Gomes. He emphasized that the mission of the GGC is to defend common interests and promote peace and socio-economic development. This mission is based on dialogue, consensus, and the bonds of friendship, solidarity, and fraternity among member states.
Venâncio S. Gomes identified several challenges facing the Gulf of Guinea region in fisheries resource management. These challenges include illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, organized crime, international competition, vested interests, as well as difficulties related to statistical data and the absence of a common communication network. He stressed the importance of addressing these challenges to preserve the marine resources of the region.
To foster cooperation among member states towards sustainable marine resource management, Venâncio S. Gomes emphasized the implementation of the blue economy process. He also highlighted the need to take into account the African Union (AU) strategy and existing regional mechanisms in maritime security, particularly in combating illegal fishing and other crimes at sea.
Regarding communication on the signing of fishing agreements, Venâncio S. Gomes underlined that each state is sovereign and has its own mechanisms to convey information to stakeholders such as local fishermen and coastal communities. However, he also emphasized that recommendations and conclusions from regional organizations must be implemented by states to ensure consistent marine resource management.
The regional workshop on Access Agreements to Fisheries Resources of Atlantic Coastal States organized by ATLAFCO represents an important step in promoting regional cooperation for sustainable fisheries resource management in Africa. Venâncio S. Gomes’ expectations highlight the importance of capacity-building, dialogue promotion, and implementation of concrete measures to address the challenges faced by African countries in sustainable fisheries resource management.