Caribbean accepts Norwegian offer to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing – Demerara Waves Online News- Guyana
Updated on Monday 4 October 2021, 13:57 by Denis Chabrol
Guyana is one of several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states that signed a declaration on Monday to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, even as the region prepares to take advantage of the Norway’s help in tackling the scourge which experts say is linked to a range of other transnational crimes.
The declaration would, among other things, allow Guyana and sisterly regional states to benefit from a Norwegian platform called the Blue Justice Community, through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which would help locate the ships. involved in IUU fishing.
Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) executive director Milton Haughton said the next “major” step is a meeting of fisheries departments and safety experts early next year to define needs and the priorities that would be supported by the Blue Justice Initiative to break the trade which has seen depleted fish stocks. “In the future, I think we need to strengthen our collaboration and I think we will start to turn the tide on this very difficult problem we are facing of illegality in the fishing industry and exhaustion and the degradation of our resources, ”he added. .
The specialist director of the Norwegian Fisheries Department, Gunnar Stølsvik, explained that the Blue Justice community is a secure platform that allows government officials to communicate with each other in a secure and stable manner rather than by email.
In addition to providing lectures and training material to build capacity, he said the Norway-based Blue Justice International Traffic Center would enable relevant personnel to monitor vessels, conduct threat analysis, understand the movement of ships, provide historical data, locate used ports and plan international cooperation. Mr Stølsvik said the Blue Justice Community could provide information to the coast guard when they consider “using their resources”. “This type of analytical material could be used when analyzing threats and to understand global vessel movements of interest for your region or for individual countries and we also have historical data from many years, so it is possible to build a fairly good picture of the types of activities in which these ships were involved, ”he said.
The chair of the meeting, Minister of Agriculture of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saboto Caesar, said that globally, IUU fishing accounts for up to 30 percent of total catches. He warned that IUU violators jeopardize national and regional investments to develop, use and sustainably manage fish stocks. “Such illegal activity will ultimately have a negative impact on local fish catches, the availability of fish for local consumption. food and nutrition security, livelihoods, export earnings and the economic growth and resilience of our countries.
Mr Caesar warned that if little or nothing is done to tackle IUU fishing, it could continue to spawn further criminal activity in the Caribbean. “We must now also pay special attention to the problem of transnational organized criminal networks that use fishing as a cover for their illegal activities. There is growing evidence showing that drug traffickers, human traffickers, small arms traffickers and contraband traders, among others, are using fishing as a cover to carry out their nefarious activities ” , did he declare.
The CARICOM regional security system also participated in Monday’s discussion on IUU fishing.
The Minister of Agriculture of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines said the CRFM, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have tried over the years to tackle this “very difficult problem”, but the time has come for much more rigor. measures.