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Myanmar authorities receive training under UNODC fisheries crime projects

Yangon (Myanmar), 27 June 2019 - Fisheries crime is an ill-defined legal concept which refers to a range of illegal activities in the fisheries value chain and includes money laundering, corruption, illegal fishing, tax evasion and document fraud. To address these types of crime and to foster cooperation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) organised a training on fisheries crime in Yangon from 17 to 21 June.

The Deputy Director General of the Myanmar Customs Department, Thein Swe, highlighted that the workshop provided a key opportunity for improvement of information sharing and coordination between all stakeholders involved in the fisheries value chain. He also emphasized that it would enhance the skills of Customs Officers working on the ground and in respective departments and organizations in the area of inspecting suspect containers related to fisheries crime.

UNODC Myanmar Anti-Corruption Programme Manager, Marie Pegie Cauchois stressed that effective regulation and crime prevention at every stage of the fisheries value chain, from the preparation of licenses and quantities of fish caught, to the sale of fish, is crucial to enable the strengthening of the fisheries sector management and infrastructure.

During the five-day workshop, working level officers from institutions involved in activities relevant to the fisheries sector in Myanmar, including Port Control Units established under the framework of CCP, came together to undergo training and to discuss fisheries crime in the country with the aim to raise awareness and improve inter-agency cooperation.

A wide range of issues were addressed, such as the impact of fisheries crime, corruption, gender and law enforcement, legal frameworks and policy, fisheries and its relation to the containerized supply chain, private sector cooperation and corruption in the fisheries sector. The combined training fostered a stronger understanding amongst stakeholders on how to address fisheries crime and the importance of inter-agency cooperation on this matter.

Pol. Lt. Col U Hla Moe Kyaw, Myanmar Police Force indicated that "In order to prevent and combat fisheries crimes such as illegal fishing in the sea, drug smuggling and weapons smuggling etc, there must be cooperation between Department of Fisheries, Immigration, Customs, Navy and Myanmar Police Force. Cooperation will be of help not only in mutual understanding between departments but also in preventing water resources and environment preservation." He also stressed "that cooperation is the most effective way to reach this goal."

The CCP component is part of the UNODC "FishNET" programme. Under this framework, CCP has implemented fish crime activities in West Africa, South Asia and now Southeast Asia. FishNET is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The Country Office project, "Addressing corruption in the fishery sector in Myanmar", is funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Myanmar.