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The FishFORCE Academy within the Faculty of Law at Nelson Mandela University has been identified by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its Member States as a regional Centre of Excellence (CoE) for the training of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) and other law enforcement officers operating in the fisheries sector.

The Director of FishFORCE, Prof Hennie van As, serves on the SADC Regional Fisheries Task Team (RTT) comprising 16 member state representatives and organisations such as Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) and ECOFISH, which is based in Mauritius. 

FishFORCE will play the leading role as far as country-specific and cross-border training on MCS enforcement is concerned.  It will also disseminate research results amongst member states.  The membership has thus far resulted in closer ties with the Fisheries Observer Agency of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Namibia.

The need for training in the SADC community is tangible, making it vital for FishFORCE to be part of the RTT in order to be knowledgeable about ongoing activities and to ensure training efforts in the region are coordinated and targeted.

“Since offering the first training that deals with the protection of marine living resources towards the end of 2016, FishFORCE had to establish itself, not only in South Africa, but in the region.  It was quite a lengthy process as the University did not have a lot of formal ties with tertiary institutions, says Prof Van As. 

The expansion into East Africa and the small island states such as Seychelles and Mauritius was done on a state-by-state basis.  Apart from establishing working relationships with universities, government agencies also had to be part of the process. 

“Membership of the SADC’s task team means that it is much easier to access relevant authorities in 16 countries, which makes it possible to expedite the expansion of the project, he says.

The SADC Regional Fisheries Task Team at a meeting at the University earlier this year.

Contact information
Professor Hendrik Van As
Professor of Public Law and Director of the Centre for Law in Action (CLA)
Tel: 27 41 504 1200