Photo manual for fisheries enforcement

Published: 5th Feb, 2017

Photographs play a vital role in identifying vessels that are involved in illegal fi shing and fisheries crime. By gathering information about the appearance, identity and operations of fi shing vessels we are collecting evidence that may prove crucial for investigations – for example, documenting transhipment, recording which vessels operate together and establishing vessel identity fraud.

Access to good quality photographs of vessels can enable us to identify where this is happening, and will enable national authorities to verify that the vessels they are licensing are using the correct documentation.

The use of multiple identities by a fishing vessel or incidents where multiple vessels share one identity, in order to circumvent regulation and avoid paying access fees has become increasingly apparent over recent years. The ability to analyse diff erent photographs in order to identify vessels is crucial, and can lead to vessel identification from photos even when markings are not clearly captured.

Photographs can also indicate compliance issues such as incorrect gear and transhipment activity.
The ability to take and analyse photographs are important skills and cameras are an essential tool for anyone involved in fi sheries monitoring and enforcement including fi sheries inspectors, observers, MCS staff , field staff , the Coastguard and community groups.


The Photo Manual for Fisheries Enforcement has been produced by Stop Illegal Fishing and TMT as part of their support to the FISH-i Africa and West Africa Task Forces.

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