Community Surveillance in the Sherbro River Area, Sierra LeoneAndy Hickman, EJFandy.email@example.com
Project started in 2010 in responseto high rates of illegal fishing byindustrial vessels in the InshoreExclusion Zone (IEZ) near SherbroIsland, Sierra Leone.Vessels targeting croaker, sole andshrimp for the European and EastAsian seafood markets.Since 2010, EJF boat has respondedto over 250 reports of illegal fishing.Most common offences:fishing in the IEZ; destroying artisanalnets; obscuring vessel markings; usingillegal fishing gears; transshippingillegally; evading arrest; attackinglocal fishers.
Challenges at outset of project• Very weak MCS capacity in Sierra Leone• Very high impact on local communities• Distant-water fleets with weak flag State Incursions by control industrial• No Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) trawlers• Hard to reach area (above all in rainy season)• Corruption• Target species of trawlers in inshore areas• Trawlers cover names to hide identities
Community Photos, GPS Damages to Deployment ofreport of illegal fishing activity EJF boat IUUpositions and vessel ID taken local fishing gears assessed Information transmitted to Freetown and London offices IUU Alert released
Sierra Leone government Action under national fisheries lawsIUU Alert European Commission Denial of import and blacklisting under EU IUU released Regulation Flag State Action under United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Remote support • Vessel comparisons using photos available • Tracking of some vessels using AIS (rare) • Tracking of refrigerated cargo vessels • Compilation of evidence into an IUU Alert and transmission to relevant agencies • Investigating entry of fisheries products into the EU • Monitoring displacement of illegal activity
Outcomes from the project so farOver 500,000USD in fines as a result of EJF investigations.The seizure of $6.5USD million of fish in Las Palmas. Releaseof fish by Spanish authorities is being investigated.10 industrial vessels previously operating illegally in SierraLeone have left the country.Over six months without illegal trawler activity in SouthernSierra Leone.Ongoing investigations by the European Commission into thepossible blacklisting of several boats.Ongoing investigation by the Korean government into theactivities of its distant water fishing fleet.Too early to ascertain the impact on catches, however,communities have reported increased catches of certainspecies and increased sightings of sharks in the areapreviously targeted by the illegal trawlers.
Promoting community stewardship of marine environment Following the success of community surveillance, EJF is working with communities in the Sherbro River area to develop a co-managed Marine Protected Area“We have built trust in the local (MPA) where certain typescommunities by helping the Government of fishing will be restrictedstop illegal trawlers. Now fisher folk and key breeding groundslisten to us when we talk about co- will be protected.management and local fishingpractices”—Amara Kalone, EJFCommunity Organiser, Bonthe
Ongoing challenges andtechnology gaps:• Displacement of illegal activity to other areas of the West African coast• Lack of a robust VMS with accompanying sanctions (both coastal and flag States)• Difficult to monitor/access IUU activity occurring further offshore (inc. transhipments)• Lack of a Unique Vessel Identifier and Global Record