What is the role of the MCS Network?
What are Governments doing about IUU fishing?
Governments and policy advisers have been aware of IUU fishing activities for some time and significant efforts have been undertaken to improve management regimes and close known loopholes. However individual efforts have met with minimal success. Flexible operating structures and highly mobile fishing fleets enable unscrupulous operators to move rapidly from areas of depletion to target other fish stocks and reap the rewards of their illegal efforts. The International MCS Network is poised to link fisheries enforcement agencies from around the world and to facilitate increased communication and information sharing between and among nations to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.
Why is an International MCS Network needed?
The oceans comprise over 70% of the earth’s surface and much of the world relies upon the oceans for food and economic benefit. Unlawful activities, such as IUU fishing, take place in all the world’s oceans, while corruption and organized crime related to fisheries occur on land. Identifying and pursuing such criminals over large areas is difficult and requires resources and capabilities that are often beyond the reach of any individual nation. Developing nations are particularly vulnerable to incursions in their waters, making them the more common targets for such illegal activities, underscoring the need for cooperative law enforcement across national borders.
The Network’s overarching goal:
Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries-related MCS activities through enhanced cooperation, coordination, information collection and exchange among national organizations and institutions responsible for fisheries-related monitoring, control and surveillance.
- Efficient information exchange
- Preparing analyses and studies related to IUU fishing
- Recognizing the dangers of IUU fishing and seeking common solutions
- Facilitation of communications with and between members
- Develop cooperation and information sharing capabilities among member nations to work regionally and globally to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing.
- Training and development of MCS officials in member nations to improve their operational effectiveness, enhance their skills and build their capacity to address IUU fishing.
As an initial step toward realization of its goals, the Network conducted the first Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop (GFETW) in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia in 2005. Since then three other GFETWs have been convened, in Trondheim, Norway in 2008, in Maputo, Mozambique in 2011, and in San José, Costa Rica in February 2014. New Zealand has offered to host the 5th GFETW, to be convened in 2016.