To power its fight against illegal fishing, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is investing more than 360,000 euros of subsidy in a single system, prepared over a 3-year period by Comoros, Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.

This system has been put in place with the financial support of European Union, based on the exchange of data in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean sector of sea fishing is a major economic and social pillar for IOC member states, with thousands of jobs directly depending on it as it constitutes a basis for food security.

The aim behind this new strategy is to promote responsible fishing to benefit from it in a sustainable manner, and to protect the Indian Ocean from the massive and destructive illegal fishing practices which plunders so many other oceans of the planet.

Besides the joint patrols which are working efficiently, the member of IOC will also share satellite data for tracking fishing vessels, thanks to the system of maritime geo-information which has contributed towards greatly strengthening regional maritime surveillance.

Xavier Nicolas, IOC coordinator for monitoring missions for fisheries, stated that fishery resources in the region are shared. Nobody owns it, but everyone is responsible for it, he added.

Since 2007, the member of the IOC have organised regional missions in a maritime region of 5.5 million square kilometers, twice the area of the Mediterranean Sea. They have now decided to share satellite data from fishing vessels by establishing a regional tool for monitoring and control of data received.

The protocol was signed in Antananarivo by Rasolonjatovo Harismandim, the Director of Madagascar’s Fisheries Monitoring Centre.

This system is also expected to contribute to the fight against piracy and strengthen the maritime security of the region. Madagascar’s Fisheries Monitoring Centre and its antenna bodies are major players in this regional strategy.

“In a few days, the patrol Atsantsa will take over a Seychelles vessel currently on a mission to hunt illegally fishing in the region,” says Rasolonjatovo Harismandimby.

Image (Conservation): The aim behind this new strategy is to promote responsible fishing to benefit from it in a sustainable manner, and to protect the Indian Ocean from massive and destructive illegal fishing practices.

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