Freetown, Sierra Leone – August 29, 2023
In a bid to address the destabilizing consequences of foreign-owned Distant Water Fishing Vessels (DWFVs) on the marine resources of Sierra Leone, an intensive capacity-building and training workshop occurred on August 29, 2023. This training, conducted with the support of Mr. Abdul Brima Samba, who serves as a key partner for the DWFV project team, is part of a broader initiative with the objective of bolstering the capabilities of local media, civil society organizations (CSOs), and community stakeholders to monitor and report on the destructive activities of DWFVs operating in the Gulf of Guinea. DWFVs are primarily vessels owned by foreign entities that exploit ocean resources, leading to depleted fish stocks and instances of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, thereby causing substantial economic and environmental consequences.
The destabilizing impacts of DWFVs have reverberated across the coastal nations of the Gulf of Guinea, where the absence of adequate institutional and human capacity, coupled with a rigorous fisheries governance regime, has enabled foreign vessels to exploit the region’s resources with impunity. This exploitation has resulted in significant income losses and an estimated annual economic impact of $2 billion across West Africa due to IUU fishing.
The training aimed to provide journalists, CSOs, and community stakeholders with the necessary skills to effectively monitor and report on the detrimental influences of DWFVs. The program encompassed various subjects, including an overview of Sierra Leone’s national and regional fisheries, fisheries governance, transparency, and accountability, livelihoods, food security, IUU fishing, and the destabilizing effects of DWFVs in Sierra Leone’s waters.
The anticipated outcomes of the training include an enhanced capacity for effective reporting, a deeper comprehension of fisheries laws and management policies, and an overall increase in transparency and accountability regarding DWFV fishing activities in Sierra Leone.
The DWFV Project Working Team, in partnership with Mr. Abdul Brima Samba, will persist in their efforts to realize these objectives. The training was conducted in person at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and is regarded as a pivotal step in bolstering local capacity to combat the adverse impacts of foreign fishing vessels in the region.