This panel discussion sees Marcus Asner from the natural resource fraud & corruption at Arnold & Porter LLP in the USA and he is speaking to us about fish crime. Initially he tells us that if we automated the export data that was uploaded to a computer it would close off a huge of opportunity to criminals to do what they do.
Mr Marcus uses the analogy of his own travel from country to country and how the passport and ticket identifies where he is going and for how long. He simply asks why we cannot do this in the day of technology with every import that enters a country and he does have a point. Mr Marcus Asner believes lobbyists also have a massive influence in this industry with things like customs authority.
We live in a time of such advanced technology that there is an endless expanse of technological options to l help us combat things like fish crime. Illegal fishing is committed by people that take advantage of differing laws from country to country. There needs to be a unified law that is applicable in every jurisdiction or country so that these criminals can stop taking advantage. There needs to be a federal government or mechanism in place to criminalise the fact that fish taken from one country to another is illegal in both countries. However as the audience member adds 07:26 that we must push for this country to country law application to become binding as soon as possible.
Marcus Arnold believes that opening a lot of containers physically with vast members of staff is the best way to catch illegal harvest of sea food. In the fisheries case it’s harder to prove as Mr Marcus tells us, fish is legal and finding where people caught fish or how they acquired it is a lot harder than proving say for example where cocaine came from. This is the challenge that customs are faced with in countries and it is a complex one at that.
For an interesting read with real life examples of South African authorities catching illegal Chinese fishing vessels then please visit the “polity” link below. This video has been very interesting informing on the never ending battle with illegal fishing.
By Alex Mitchison