Illegal fishing in under-policed waters cost governments in West Africa as much as $1.5 billion in lost revenues.
U.S. officials speaking at the start of three days of talks between American officers and their African counterparts drew comparisons to NATO and its policy of pooling resources between nations.
“That applies equally to West Africa as it does to Europe,” said Lewis Lukens, the U.S. ambassador to Senegal.
Law enforcement officials say varying abilities of regional forces, a wide array of legislation and basic barriers like language have prevented regional cooperation.
Lukens said cooperation could change this.
“There is no reason that in the future, information from a Senegalese aircraft couldn’t use be used to support Senegal, the Gambia, Cape Verde as they pursue illegal fishing boats or narco-traffickers through each other’s waters,” he said.