The US Naval Institute Blog has a short post recommending,
“…the United States…should spearhead the establishment of an Indo-Pacific Fishery Security Cooperation (IPFSC) that includes nations from Asia, South America and Africa. This organization would enable the member states to ensure territorial and economic integrity through diplomatic pressure, the sharing of intelligence and the sharing of security forces…The ultimate goal of the IPFSC would be to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing throughout the Indo-Pacific region. As the majority infringer, the PRC would have a unified treaty organization economically and diplomatically pushing back against their illicit activities and enforcing international decisions such as the South China Seas Arbitration case… This would be somewhat similar to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization…except with an economic and law enforcement focus rather than a military focus.”
A law enforcement alliance would seem to be much easier to sell than a military one.
There are a few multi-national fisheries management organizations already, but to my knowledge none of them involve sharing of enforcement assets, though, I believe Australia, New Zealand, France, and the US have all aided smaller countries in fisheries enforcement.
The fishing fleets ravaging the worlds oceans are mobile and so large that when they move into an area, they overwhelm the local enforcement agencies. Like military organizations, you can be sure fishing fleets share information about the location and practices of their adversaries–the fisheries enforcement agencies. That is why enforcement agencies need to coordinate and share resources.
Earlier I proposed something like the sharing of security forces proposed here, “Combined Maritime Security Task Force, Pacific,” that could be implemented using an expanded multilateral “ship-rider” program–a multi-ship, multi-national, highly mobile law enforcement task force that can follow the fishing fleets from one nations EEZ to the next. The advantages of having third party witnesses when there is a contentious law enforcement action is undertaken should not be underestimated.
The afloat assets should be supported by shore based aviation and intelligence assets all in support of a multi-laterally developed fisheries management plan.
The USNI blog proposal refers to the Indo-Pacific, and my earlier post was in regard to the Western Pacific. Frankly, similar organizations could be organized in several areas, including the Gulf of Guinea, the South China Sea, the Western Pacific, the West coast of South America, and the Caribbean. It’s likely if we could form one such law enforcement alliance somewhere, and it worked, others would follow the example.
The US Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA all have missions in fisheries. Then there are multiple state agencies. As far as the federal agencies are concerned, I feel that they should be consolidated under USCG. I’ve long felt that NOAA and FWS should be divisions under the Coast Guard, facilitating vessel orders and operations. Considering the renewed focus on worldwide fisheries, I think this type of reorganization makes sense.
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General Order #1 should be: If a poacher gives you any lip, treat them like an Argentine would.