The international FishCRIME symposium has made headlines this week. The symposium, a joint initiative by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Norwegian government and two NGOs, Stop Illegal Fishing and PescaDOLUS, took place at the CTICC in Cape Town earlier in the week..
The key note address was delivered by Eve de Coning of Interpol, Oslo. De Coning said that crimes in the fishing sector had four common denominators:
- They occurred across international borders
- There was usually more than one crime involved
- There was a high degree of secrecy in company and vessel ownership, and
- Many jurisdictions made prosecution extremely difficult.
Crimes in the fishing sector globally include not only illegal fishing, but also tax and custom evasion, fraud, forged documentation, money laundering, drugs and weapons smuggling and illegal labour practices.
DAFF’s head of fisheries enforcement, Ceba Mtoba, said that fishing crimes were run by global criminal networks and South Africa needed to be part of a global network in order to effectively address the problems.
The pollution of our oceans has also made headlines this week with a visit by members of the round-the-world Race for Water Odyssey to the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town.
The odyssey, initiated by the Race for Water Foundation, began in France in March and hopes to make the first global assessment of plastic pollution in the oceans from its trimaran.
Board member, Franklin Servan-Schreiber said, “Fifty percent of oxygen we owe to tiny plankton we don’t even see, but dust plastic is affecting the plankton’s ability to produce oxygen.”
Approximately 80 percent of the rubbish in the ocean is plastic. According to Marco Simeoni, president of the Race for Water Foundation, despite the massive scale of plastic waste in the ocean, not much is known about it.
The team hopes to assess plastic pollution on remote islands in the oceans five main rubbish hotspots with the aim of determining the type of plastic, as well as its toxicity to marine life.
Perlemoen with an estimated value of R17 million was confiscated on the Cape Flats this week. According to the press the police worked through the night counting the illegally poached perlemoen – the biggest haul of the year thus far.
No suspects have as yet been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.