International law enforcement cooperation to target crimes in the fisheries sector

 Officers inspecting cargo
VIENNA (AUSTRIA), 9 NOVEMBER 2021 – 
 
International cooperation is a key element in the fight against transnational organized crime and the cross-border movement of illicit goods and it is, therefore, an integral part of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme’s methodology. From the establishment of Port Control and Air Cargo Control Units (PCUs and ACCUs), often comprised of officers from multiple agencies, to the emphasis on information sharing in technical assistance activities and the organization of study visits and international events, cooperation is encouraged at every step of implementation.
 
When it comes to crimes in the fisheries sector (CFS), the global nature of the fishing industry and its complex transnational structure call for firm inter-agency collaboration which is why CCP has been focusing specifically on these issues over the past months.
 
In September, the CCP organized the first part of an inter-regional exchange visit on CFS to the port of Tema, in Ghana for 18 PCU and fisheries officials in Eastern and West Africa. During this activity, the participants discussed best practices to tackle CFS, forged closer links with other frontline officers for a better exchange of information and observed profiling and inspection procedures for containerized and bulk fish consignments in Tema. As the first such activity to be conducted in-person since the beginning of the pandemic, the participating officers were able to appreciate the added value that face-to-face interaction brings to law enforcement cooperation.
In regions where COVID-19 related restrictions do not yet allow extensive travel, international cooperation is encouraged through other activities. In October, the CCP organized an online Inter-Regional Meeting on Crimes in the Fisheries Sector for South and Southeast Asia. Sixty-nine participants from law enforcement agencies, and Customs and Fisheries Departments from South and Southeast Asia attended the event. The meeting benefited from the presence of CFS experts, who presented promising practices and results. The merits of international cooperation were highlighted with the presentation of recent case studies pertaining to international shipments of fish.
 
Both activities were part of the FishNET project supported by the Norwegian Government and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

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