A four-day workshop on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is being held in Cape Town commencing on Tuesday 24 July 2012. The workshop will focus on assessing and developing the key port State controls that African States can implement to prevent illegal fishing activity and ensure that effective controls are in place at their maritime borders.

This workshop seeks to complement and build on a similar event held in 2010 that focused on the role of flag State controls in combating IUU fishing and identified a range of actions participants could take to strengthen those controls within their countries.

The Cape Town workshop will be taking place against a domestic backdrop of a collapse in fisheries management and compliance. South Africa continues to not have any fisheries compliance strategy in place as its fisheries patrol vessels lay idle in Simonstown harbour leaving its vast ocean space, and particularly the Southern Ocean EEZ open to IUU fishing and its once world-reknowned observer programme has been terminated due to “financial and bureaucratic problems”.

Further, the department has formally confirmed that it has been authorising foreign fishing vessels access to SA waters and ports in violation of the Marine Living Resources Act and particularly in violation of section 39 of the MLRA.

South Africa will however be attending this workshop as a recent signatory of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement.

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