INTERPOL hold training program for SE Asian ports

toothfish interpol

Assisting member countries build investigative capacity on illegal fishing and the illegal trade in living marine species was the focus of recent INTERPOL training programmes in Indonesia and the Philippines.

During both five-day courses, INTERPOL officials provided training on a range of fisheries and maritime issues including legal frameworks, health and safety in vessel boarding and inspections, verification of vessel documentation, port control measures, operational planning and multi-agency and international cooperation.

Participating agencies identified crime hotspots and criminal networks active in their national waters – related to fisheries and the poaching of regulated marine species, terrorism and piracy – and discussed opportunities for cooperation with their counterparts in neighbouring countries.

The training course in Indonesia (3-7 August) was co-organized by the Indonesian Marine Police and held at the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) in Semarang. Participants included Indonesian maritime law enforcement officers, prosecutors and legal advisers from the Navy, Marine Police, Coast Guard, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and its Task Force on the Prevention and Eradication of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, the Criminal Investigation Division of the Indonesian National Police, Customs and Port Authorities.

The course in the Philippines (27-31 July) was co-organized by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) at the National Brackishwater Fisheries Technology Center (NBFTC) in Pagbilao. The national course for investigators of fisheries crime brought together law enforcement officers from BFAR, the Philippines National Police Maritime Group, the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, and the National Bureau of Investigation. The training was supported by an expert from the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand.

The events follow similar initiatives in Panama (December 2014) and Malaysia (January 2015), and are all funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Indonesia and the Philippines will be represented at a Regional Investigative and Analytical Case Meeting in the region this month on fishing vessels suspected or known to operate illegally in Antarctic waters. This meeting will bring together lead fisheries and maritime investigation agencies in countries conducting investigations into IUU fishing and maritime activities in the Antarctic region, and which act as ports of call for vessels active in the Antarctic, fish processing points and destination markets for fish products.