The first workshop was held in the capital city of Libreville, and took place after the arrest of two industrial shrimp trawlers for fishing in one of Gabon’s newly-established marine protected areas, breaching Gabonese law.

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Supported by a boarding and inspection checklist that Sea Shepherd Legal helped prepare, Gabonese authorities issued significant fines. Gabon has become a regional leader in marine conservation, as it has created nine new national marine parks and 11 new aquatic reserves, protecting 26% of Gabonese waters.

Taking place in three Gabonese cities, the workshop series called 'Securing Gabon’s National Heritage: Policies and Practices to Eliminate IUU Fishing in Gabonese Waters', aspires to:

  1. Enhance awareness of the threats that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing poses to the future of Gabon;
  2. Offer opportunities to enhance policies to combat IUU fishing and protect Gabon’s national heritage;
  3. Increase the capacity of enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other officials to directly respond to IUU fishing threats.

These workshops complement both Sea Shepherd Global’s Operation Albacore campaigns, which involve at-sea patrols to tackle illegal fishing, as well as Sea Shepherd Legal’s current policy work in Gabon. Discussions are also ongoing to make the capacity-building workshops an annual event.