In this video we hear from Kristin Gunnasdottir V. Kistowski from Fish-I Africa and she is telling us about how laws regarding fishing didn’t happen the past. There has been illegal fishing for many years and they have been allowed to expand their operations and this is what Fish-I Africa wasa created to combat.
In the short time Fish-I Africa has existed it has done a lot to examine the information and create enforcement laws for countries to follow. There has been a technical team that provides information of illegal vessels and the have successfully tracked won where the vessels are. A link to Fish-I Africa is in the links below. Fish I Africa has produced a report that can be downloaded easily from their website.
The objective of Fish-I Africa is as follows: Uniting eight East African coastal countries along the Western Indian Ocean, an unprecedented alliance is showing that regional cooperation, coupled with dedicated data analysis and technical expertise can stop illegal catch getting to market, and prevent criminal fishers pursuing their lucrative business unhindered.
Sharing vessel data real-time and accessing satellite tracking expertise, FISH-i Africa is a Task Force that enables authorities to identify and act against large-scale illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. The aim is to build a robust and effective mechanism to catalyse enforcement actions and ultimately to secure a sustainable end to illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean.
The change from opportunistic illegal fishing to intentional illegal fishing is likely to have occurred over time. Owners have realised that there is a very limited enforcement capacity and therefore no serious deterrence is in place, making fishing illegally a low risk business. It is likely that this situation has escalated as owners and operators see that they and others can get away with not playing by the rules, encouraging them to engage in more criminal activity, and encouraging a ‘race to the bottom’ attitude. This challenge is made greater because most of the fishing vessels operating in the Western Indian Ocean are foreign owned and often part of a distant water fishing fleet. Therefore, the long-term damage and destruction they are causing is of little consequence to the foreign owners, whose concern is to increase their short-term profit, profit that accumulates far away from where the damage is done.
The main aim of the Fish-I Crime is to make illegal fisheries more scared of trying to commit fish crime. It is essential that illegal fisherman realise that it is no longer worth pursuing illegal fish catches because the risks are great and there is no longer any point in trying. Moreover Fish-I crime are making it clear to these criminals that the consequences of fish crime are increasing at a rapid rate and thus making it less tempting in the first place.
By Alex Mitchison