According to official press releases INTERPOL has been requested for the first time to detect illegal fishing activities
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Annie R. B. Elis.
Editor's note 11/9/2015 So far we have seen no trade journal reports on how INTERPOL is doing in this endeavor, helping or hurting. When a consensus of opinion in the international industry appears we will report it.
For the first time, INTERPOL has intervened to raise an alert concerning a ship
suspected to be engaged in illegal fishing activities.
Recently INTERPOL Issued, in close cooperation with fisheries enforcement authorities in Norway, a "Purple Notice", which is used to seek information on the modus operandi utilized
INTERPOL has reported data on the fishing vessel SNAKE, which has changed flags at least eight times and its name at least twelve in the past ten years. Unfortunately in these days of wide spread use of open registries like Liberia and Panama such activity is not as unusual as it sounds and often signals nothing more than a ship with creditor problems, or some combination of creditor and title problems following a series of rapid resales, but such activity and also signal an attempt to hide a vessel's illegal activities. The SNAKE is now suspected of carrying on illegal fishing activities in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Central and Southern Africa.
The SNAKE has been blacklisted by both the Commission for the Conservation of
Antartic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and by the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) since 2004 and 2007, respectively.
As a consequence,the SNAKE has been internationally banned from having fishing permits and permission to enter ports. This was a first known involvement of INTERPOL in fisheries enforcement and the first clear indication that the organization is now linked in with the global efforts at Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) an increasing concern for coastal nations around the world. In the United states the lead agency for MDS intelligence gathering, coordination, and dissemination is the U.S. Coast Guard.
By issuing the "Purple Alert" determining the ship's status and last kanown location, all 190 INTERPOL member countries will be able to investigate possible breaches of their fishing
laws and take appropriate enforcement measures should the SNAKE attempt to operate illegally in their waters.
In the words of Grete Faremo, Norway's Minister of Justice and Public Security:
"Fisheries crimes are often transnational, and increasingly we see that
organized criminal networks are involved. There is a need to strengthen
international cooperation to combat fisheries crime and Norway has givenfunds to support INTERPOL's work in this area."
INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble praised INTERPOL's
international tools in an official release pointing out their effectiveness
at the time of detecting illegal fishing activities.
A few months ago, INTERPOL launched Project Scale. This project is a global initiative to
detect, suppress and fight against fisheries crime. Its initial sponsors have been the
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
Andrew Wright, CCAMLR Executive Secretary stated:
"The Snake is one of anumber of vessels persistently engaged in illegal fishing in the CCAMLR Convention Area and beyond. The vessel's activities undermines CCAMLR's
conservation objectives and the science that supports the rational use of living marine resources."