New publication: Using Body Worn Cameras to Provide Remote Support For Fisheries Enforcement

By Stop Illegal Fishing:5th Jun, 2021: Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing

A new Stop Illegal Fishing Case Study, ‘Using Body Worn Cameras to Provide Remote Support For Fisheries Enforcement’, provides details of a pilot project to evaluate the viability of online mentoring using live-streaming remote cameras, like the body worn cameras (also known as bodycams) used by security agencies, including police forces around the world.

The Port State Measures to Stop Illegal Fishing project (PSM-SIF) has been supporting African countries to develop monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) procedures and capacity to implement the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA). Mentoring multi-agency inspection teams has been a key element of this support. With the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 in 2020, in-person mentoring became difficult due to restrictions on working in enclosed spaces, shortages of personal protective equipment, and limitations on international travel. If the mentoring were to continue, an alternative way of providing support was urgently required.

In July 2020, SIF embarked on the pilot project: it was hoped this would enable SIF to continue to provide expert mentoring in real-time to frontline fisheries inspectors.

The pilot project has provided good evidence that this is an excellent tool to provide support and build capacity in partner countries. Other potential applications have been identified for exploration including a pilot with an at-sea observer programme.

Sandy Davies of Stop Illegal Fishing commented: ‘There are many potential advantages that using body worn cameras may provide to port States implementing the PSMA, these include improving the quality of inspections due to remote oversight by other officials from fisheries agencies and other agencies such as maritime, or marine police, and a reduction in opportunities for corruption, violence and confrontations. We have already seen the benefit of using the inspection recordings as a valuable resource for training and case studies and we are now working with partner countries to assess the possibility of using recordings as evidence if violations are detected.’

The PSM-SIF initiative is funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the Global Programme Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Special Initiative.

Stop Illegal Fishing Case Study, ‘Using Body Worn Cameras to Provide Remote Support For Fisheries Enforcement‘ is available to download in English and French. Portuguese to follow soon.

STOP ILLEGAL FISHING CASE STUDIES aim to define best practice by analysing practical examples of different approaches in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. They also demonstrate the range of activities and partnerships underway to stop illegal fishing and provide the basis for policy advice.

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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.

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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.

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