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05 December 2014

Fisheries crime investigations supported by INTERPOL training

PANAMA, Panama – Enhancing the skills of fisheries crime investigators to better identify, deter and disrupt transnational criminal networks involved in illegal fishing activities and other criminality was the focus of an INTERPOL training workshop in Panama.

In conjunction with the Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano (OSPESCA - Central American Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization) and the Panamanian Directorate of Judicial Investigations (DJI), the five-day (1- 5 December) workshop brought together some 40 participants from eight countries across Latin America.

The course, supported by the United States Department of State, was aimed at providing best practice on investigative techniques including crime scene investigation, information collection, evaluation and analysis on a ‘train the trainer’ basis, enabling these skills to then be further developed at the national level. Use of INTERPOL’s global tools in supporting operational activities and analysis were also key elements within the training programme.

“Illegal fishing represents a serious transnational threat to the marine environments of Central America. International cooperation and coordination is necessary, since it is impossible for any one country to tackle fisheries crime alone,” said Mario Gonzalez, OSPESCA regional coordinator.

Fisheries crime undermines the sustainability of marine resources and threatens food security as well as the economic, social and political stability of coastal states where the fishing industry is oftena primary source of revenue. Due to the increasing value of fish as a commodity, the last decade has seen an escalation of transnational and organized criminal networks engaged in fisheries crime.

Launched in February 2013, INTERPOL’s Project Scale supports capacity building to assist member countries in identifying, deterring and disrupting transnational fisheries crime.

Countries participating in the training were; Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Peru and the Dominican Republic