INTERPOL requested for the first time to detect illegal fishing activities

Posted on: September 10th, 2013 by Hannah Darrin

By Gabriela Raffaele



For the first time, INTERPOL has intervened to raise alert towards ship believed to be engaged in illegal fishing activities.

Issued in close cooperation between the police organization and Norway, the Purple Notice, which is used to seek information the modus operandi utilized by criminals, has reported data on the fishing vessel Snake, which has changed flag at least eight times and its name at least twelve in the past ten years to hide its illegal activities. It is now suspected of carrying on its illegal fishing activities in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Central and Southern Africa.

The ship 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. Therefore, it has been banned from having fishing permits and permission to enter ports.

By determining the ship’s status and 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.

Grete Faremo, Norway’s Minister of Justice and Public Security, remarked: “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 given funds to support INTERPOL’s work in this area.”

For his part, 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, a worldwide initiative to detect, supress and fight against fisheries crime. Its major contributors are the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Andrew Wright, CCAMLR Executive Secretary said:  “The Snake is one of a number 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.”