A high level stakeholders’ meeting on a proposed Fisheries Crime Law Enforcement Academy to be developed in collaboration between FishFORCE and the University of Nairobi was held in Mombasa, Kenya from November 23-24.

Opening the meeting Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett, from Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, highlighted the need to share ideas and build capacity to understand the issues related to illegal fishing and fisheries crime; “we need to understand what this is about to be able to protect our resources and prevent crime.”

FishFORCE, the Norwegian funded Fisheries Crime Law Enforcement Academy, housed at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth, South Africa, aims to build local law enforcement expertise and strengthen cooperation between agencies, domestically and cross-border, towards enhanced law enforcement in addressing fisheries crime. This is to be achieved via a combination of hands-on expert training of fisheries control law enforcement officers from multiple relevant agencies, continual post-training support and focused research.

FishFORCE aims to translate into practice the fisheries crime law enforcement model which promotes use of all relevant laws, administrative and criminal, as entry points for initial detection of fisheries crime and subsequent investigation and prosecution of such crime, particularly that which is transnational. Fisheries crime refers to the full range of serious offences occurring throughout the fisheries value chain both at-sea and on land including document fraud, illegal fishing, human trafficking and corruption to name a few.

Per Erik Bergh, representing Stop Illegal Fishing and the FISH-i Africa Task Force at the meeting commented, “the need for fisheries enforcement training that is tailored to and meets the needs of national teams is vital to successfully tackle illegal fishing. We hope that the evidence, successes and lessons learned by the FISH-i Africa Task Force will contribute to the shaping of the academy and will help to identify issues that may be of interest for further discussions and collaborations.”