CIMSEC Talks Fisheries Crimes

CIMSEC continues their “Non-Navy” discussion with “Fisheries Crime: Bridging the Conceptual Gap and Practical Response.”

They address more than just Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. They talk about problems highlighted in a study conducted by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on transnational criminal activities in the fishing industry :

•Fishers trafficked for the purpose of forced labor on board fishing vessels are severely abused;
•There is frequency of child trafficking in the fishing industry;
•Transnational organized criminal groups are engaged in marine living resource crimes in relation to high value, low volume species such as abalone;
•Some transnational fishing operators launder illegally caught fish through transshipments at sea and fraudulent catch documentation;
•Fishing licensing and control system is vulnerable to corruption;
•Fishing vessels are used for the purpose of smuggling of migrants, illicit traffic in drugs (primarily cocaine), illicit traffic in weapons, and acts of terrorism; and
•Fishers are often recruited by organized criminal groups due to their skills and knowledge of the sea and are seldom masterminds behind organized criminal activities involving the fishing industry or fishing vessels.[1]

The Coast Guard is most likely to encounter these problems in the EEZ in the Western Pacific, including the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument that is expected to expanded and in the EEZs of friendly island nations that rely on the US to assist with enforcement. Unfortunately assets for enforcement in these areas have been extremely limited.

Chinese Drift Net F/V Seized in the North Pacific

CCGD17 is reporting an unusual fisheries case.

This seizure was a result of an international effort. The F/V was spotted by a Canadian CP-140 (similar to a P-3) and boarded by a team from Morgenthau assisted by two Chinese agents, 625 miles East of Tokyo (Japan was also listed as a participant in the operation). After violations were discovered, the vessel was detained and custody subsequently transferred to a Chinese Coast Guard cutter.

I can’t help but be curious what will happen to the vessel, its owners and crew, when the Chinese government seems to condone and even encourage violation of international fisheries norms elsewhere.