Back to Mozambique working on PSMA / by Francisco Blaha

I’m on my long way to Mozambique, a country that for various reasons is close to my soul. I lived there with my family in 2002, on one of my first pure MCS jobs after fishing. After that I been back few times on shorter missions. I make a point of doing a few jobs outside the Pacific every year, as to maintain perspective and have the opportunity to learn and pass some of the lessons learned on my usual grounds.

Fishers fixing their boat in Beira

Fishers fixing their boat in Beira

Speaking Portuguese (I learned it as child listening to the radio as I grow up close not only to the border with Paraguay but also with Brazil) is fundamental to work here. 

Mozambique has fascinating story with a lot of struggles during colonial times and independence for independence, is worth reading the wikipedia page if interested.

I bring in my know how on PSM practices to support the PSM-SIF project, that is being implemented by my friends Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF) with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in partnership with the Mozambique government.

My work is intended to be mainly on-the-job capacity building supported by desk or theoretical explanations and work as required. This will be determined in cooperation with the Heads of MCS in the ports of Beira and Nacala

This is pretty much what I have been doing in Marshalls, PNG, Kiribati and Tuvalu, yet with lesser availability of regional tools.

Hence the intelligence work is a bit more “loose” yet there are modern tools we can use instead of the VMS, and then we need to spend more time on board.

Mozambique is a signatory of FAO PSMA, yet is a big step in between signing PSMA and doing PSMA… for that one need to understand fishing vessels behaviour, operational realities and it helps a lot to “think” like a fisherman, and that is my job. 

As I always say “you cannot regulate what your don't understand” and this is usually the challenge. Furthermore, I’m always very keen to pass the message that officer’s don't need to prove that vessel has done “wrong”… the burden of proof is on the vessel management to prove they have done right… and only when that is done… port use is authorised

So yeah… very much looking forwards to work the next two weeks there.