SOUTH AFRICA - Stakeholders from law enforcement agencies, humanitarian organisations and government fisheries departments from 32 countries have convened in Cape Town for an international symposium on illegal fishing.
Hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, PescaDOLUS, Stop Illegal Fishing and the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, the gathering will argue that the definition of illegal fishing should be broadened to include fisheries crime, including highly organised and well-financed transnational crimes that often go undetected in the waters.
“This event will bring some of the best brains in this field. Amongst them will be experts who will share some of the high profile cases and present ways in which countries and agencies can collaborate to tackle these very serious crimes,” said head of Fisheries Compliance Enforcement in the Department, Ceba Mtoba.
Mtoba said the two-day symposium would put South Africa and the rest of the continent under sharp focus.
“This meeting is a call for a co-ordinated global response to fish crimes and will also acknowledge the important role played by civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations in combatting this scourge.”
Illegal fishing occurs in national waters, exclusive economic zones (EEZs) and on the high seas.
It is often associated with illegal processing and illegal trade of fish and it threatens economic stability, food security, the marine environment and the sustainability of fishery resources.
In the past two decades much progress has been made towards stopping illegal fishing through the development of international fisheries policies to encourage, for example, improved flag and port state responsibility for fishing vessels, their crews and their activities.
Greater consumer awareness has put pressure on importing nations to ensure the legitimacy of imported fish.
Many countries have also made significant improvements in national fisheries policy and legislation strengthening their fisheries management systems and, at the same time, improved implementation through capacity-building and provision of resources for monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of fishing operations.
TheFishSite News Desk
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