The aim of the event was to raise awareness and to highlight the importance of inter-agency and cross border collaboration when evaluating and combating fisheries crimes along the value chain. Representatives from a range of agencies with different perspectives, including food safety, fisheries, tax, customs, coast guard and police attended from 9 countries.
Fish Crime is a term that encompasses a range of inter-related criminal actions that can occur along the fisheries value chain, from ‘boat to plate’. Participants were presented with a number of realistic scenarios designed to provoke group discussion and to demonstrate why consideration of different viewpoints is vital when addressing compliance risks along the value chain. The methodologies used for identifying and evaluating risks was discussed. Opportunity was also taken to explore issues that give rise to barriers to effective cooperation. The participants discussed limitations imposed by internal procedures and the law. A general observation is that fisheries crime is not perceived by senior managers to be of high risk. That view is likely to be erroneous because the true extent of the risks in fisheries is not being evaluated; a holistic approach ought to be adopted which recognizes the harm that fisheries crime causes.
The feedback from participants was good, both on format and content. The inter-agency and cross border approach gives the participants a broader perspective, encourages the adoption of a holistic approach and highlights the need for co-operation between authorities both nationally and internationally.