Chatham House forum addresses key issues of illegal fishing and fisheries related crime

By Stop Illegal Fishing:18th May, 2018: FISH-i Africa · Securing convictions

Insurance, banking, credit lending and investments all play a vital role in illegal fishing practices, and were some of the key issues under the spotlight at the 11th International Forum on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing held at Chatham House on May 3-4, 2018. The session was led by Cathy Heinlein, Royal United Services Institute, who highlighted the need for IUU fishing to be considered as a predicate offence for money laundering.

Steve Farrar of Liberty Asia noted that IUU fishing ranks as the sixth highest value sector of transnational organised crime, following on from counterfeiting, drugs, illegal logging and trafficking, stating, “We need to go after the people who make the profits – banks are key.” The use of US Dollars for financial transactions in the fish trade also offers opportunity for legal action, as US jurisdiction is then enforceable.

Kees Lankester, Consultant to The Pew Charitable Trusts, highlighted the role of creditors and the potential to disrupt the investment needed for purchase of vessels. The challenges in identifying the legality of fishing operations were illustrated by Hilde Jervan of the Council on Ethics for the Norwegian Government Pension Fund: the lack of information and transparency around company structures, fishing operations and incidents of illegal fishing combine to make organisational assessments difficult to make. Dana Miller, a marine scientist at Oceana, described the progress made on raising awareness of illegal fishing to the insurance industry and the development of an insurance industry statement against IUU fishing.

Sea Shepherd Legal, UNODC, FISH-i Africa, and the International Pole and Line Federation discussed the challenges facing effective enforcement and sanctions. Sandy Davies from Stop Illegal Fishing described the findings of the FISH-i Africa Task Force, indicating that deliberate and systematic illegal fishing is prevalent. The high cost of at-sea enforcement, combined with the difficulty in detaining and successfully prosecuting vessels and their owners, has led to the development of FISH-i VIGILANCE, a systematic crosschecking of vessel information and onboard inspections. Ms Davies commented, “Vessels are where we need to target the energy. Conducting vessel inspections and cross checking and verifying documents is the most effective and lowest cost means of identifying and stopping the illegal operators. We are looking for partners to push this process forward in order to inspect all operational fishing vessels in the Western Indian Ocean.”

An interactive session on the European Control Regulation provided an opportunity for feedback on areas for improvement with suggestions made for greater harmonisation of regulations and more standardised implementation.

Transhipment and technology for monitoring control and surveillance provided the focus for presentations from Skytruth, MRAG and the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC).  Peter Flewwelling of NFPC stated, “Unmonitored transhipment is rampant at a time when the volume of fish transhipped is increasing rapidly. In the North pacific we saw an increase in transhipment activity of approaching 50% from 2015 to 2017.”

Recent cases of victims of slavery, trafficking and exploitation in Thai and Irish fishing sectors were discussed. The role of investigative journalism has been crucial in exposing and understanding the human rights abuses taking place in the global supply chain.

Jason Judd of the International Labour Organization outlined the activity that has taken place in Thailand in response to the EU yellow card from 2015. This has led to the mandatory inspection of all vessels of 30GT and over and the development of enforcement protocol tools. The introduction of risk analysis systems will lead to more targeted inspections with the aim of increasing enforcement. Mark Richardson of FishWise noted the essential role that industry can play in ensuring that fish is secured from legitimate sources – FishWise is encouraging improved due diligence to enable to industry to reduce the risk of buying fish from non-compliant value chains.

Julie Janovsky, The Pew Charitable Trusts, drew attention to a variety of international instruments relevant to tackling illegal fishing, ensuring vessel safety, and addressing working conditions the fisheries sector. These include the Port State Measures Agreement, the 2012 Cape Town Agreement and the Work in Fishing Convention of ILO (C188). “We need to continue to encourage support for these complimentary international frameworks: the synergy of implementing these standards in parallel may provide the momentum and legal grounds for prosecuting the illegal operators and removing them from our global supply chains,” added Sandy Davies.

The regional update this year came from Central America with contributions from OSPESCA, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua and how they were working together to combat IUU fishing. Initiatives from the industry and private sector were discussed in the closing session.

Elsa Patria, Chairperson of Stop illegal Fishing commented, “The Chatham House IUU meeting provides a valuable opportunity to share experiences and thinking between sectors and between regions. All too often we see that we have common problems and can benefit from working more closely together.”

Recent Posts

FISH-i Africa continues to strengthen efforts to combat illegal fishing

By Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo (SADC Secretariat) and Mr. Per Erik Berg (Stop Illegal...

Read More...

Illegal fishing deprive SADC states of revenues

Windhoek- The SADC Secretariat has advised Namibia during its tenure as regional chair...

Read More...

South Africa: Hout Bay Protest Turns Violent After Poaching Death

By Kimon De Greef Believing that members of an anti-poaching patrol had killed...

Read More...

High power Japanese fisheries delegation arrives in Liberia

A high-power Japanese delegation has arrived in Liberia as guest of the National...

Read More...

SIF News Categories

The Issues

One in four fish in Africa is caught illegally, this threatens the sustainability of fish stocks, damages the ecosystem and deprives governments of income and people of livelihoods.

Find Out More...

Our Approach

Creating change by informing policy and practice, our hands on experience and investigative work means we are often the first to spot new trends and find ways to challenge these.

Read More...

Our Initiatives

Illegal fishing is a complex issue that requires multifaceted responses. Stop Illegal Fishing are working with a range of organisations to bring about change.

Find Out More...

Recent Posts

FISH-i Africa continues to strengthen efforts to combat illegal fishing

By Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo (SADC Secretariat) and Mr. Per Erik Berg (Stop Illegal...

Read More...

Illegal fishing deprive SADC states of revenues

Windhoek- The SADC Secretariat has advised Namibia during its tenure as regional chair...

Read More...

South Africa: Hout Bay Protest Turns Violent After Poaching Death

By Kimon De Greef Believing that members of an anti-poaching patrol had killed...

Read More...