1st INTERPOL International Fisheries Enforcement Conference
Lyon, France, 26-28 February 2013
In February 2012, in Bangkok, Thailand, during the INTERPOL 17th Pollution Crime and 23rd Wildlife Crime Working Group, side meetings were conducted to address the problem of illegal fishing and crossover crimes as a transnational issue that needs to be combated. As a result of these meetings, an ad hoc Fisheries Crime Working Group (FCWG) was set up to focus on fisheries crime, particularly in the West African coastal states.
One year later, we hosted the 1st INTERPOL International Fisheries Enforcement Conference, followed by a Fisheries Crime Working Group meeting. High-level Chiefs in the field of fisheries law enforcement were invited to join together with the aim of sharing expertise and strategies to prevent and combat fisheries crime.
- Mr José María Figueres is the Former President of Costa Rica (1994-1998) and a prominent businessman involved in global issues such as climate change, sustainable development and technology.
- Admiral Thad Allen (retired) was the 23rd Commandant of the United States Coast Guard and led the US federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the Gulf Coast region. In addition, he was the National Incident Commander of the Unified Command for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr Allen is the current Senior Vice President of Booz Allen Hamilton.
- Hon. Vice Minister of the Interior, Police and Security, Costa Rica, Marcela Chacón Castro.
- Hon. Secretary General of the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Norway, Arne Benjaminsen.
- Hon. Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Sierra Leone, Momodu Allieu Pat-Sowe.
Representatives from the Prosecutor’s Office of Chile, the Administration of Combating Economic Crimes and Counteraction against Corruption of the Russian Federation, the General Secretariat of Fisheries in Spain, the UK Royal Navy, the European Commission, and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) were panelists, in addition to other high-level and expert speakers.
The objectives of the conference were the following:
- Launch Project SCALE, an INTERPOL initiative to detect, combat and suppress fisheries crime, designed to improve the exchange of fisheries enforcement information and intelligence between countries;
- Establish a permanent INTERPOL Fisheries Crime Working Group, with the role of providing recommendations to ensure international cooperation between INTERPOL National Central Bureaus and national fisheries enforcement authorities in the reduction of fisheries crime;
- Raise national and international awareness on the negative impacts of fisheries crime on our seas and oceans; and
- Share expertise and provide recommendations on establishing suitable tools that will assist countries where fisheries law enforcement is lacking.
TThe Fisheries Crime Working Group meeting was intended for law enforcement delegates, in the field of fisheries, with decision-making authority and a willingness for future cooperation and involvement in the Working Group.