FISH-i Africa is demonstrating that regional cooperation, information and intelligence sharing, coupled with dedicated data analysis, technical advise and strong political motivation can slowly but surely turn illegal fishing into a high risk/low reward business. FISH-i Africa has:
Unanimously denied access to an illegal fishing vessel, forcing the operator to pay.
In late 2012, the fishing vessel Premier, a South Korean purse seine vessel moved from West Africa to the Indian Ocean in an attempt to escape from its infamous illegal fishing past. Although the owners were unaware, FISH-I Africa knew about this illegal past and the Task Force united to make the vessel unwelcome in their waters by denying the vessel access to fishing license and ports. This greatly increased the operational costs for the owner, while associated negative media tainted their image and reduced the selling price of their company’s fish.
Ultimately this pressure led to the owner paying a two million US dollar settlement to the Liberian government for illegal fishing charges.
Uncovered fraudulent licenses, resulting in improved government revenue.
In mid-2012, two tuna long liners were discovered fishing without licenses in Tanzanian waters. Further investigations disclosed a much larger network of distribution of fraudulent Tanzania fishing licenses. As a result, some of the vessels that had been fishing with fraudulent licenses have now obtained legal fishing licenses, resulting in increased government revenue both in Tanzania and Kenya.
FISH-i Africa country de-flags IUU listed fishing vessels
Based on an initial lead from the Australian government and following communication and cross checking it was discovered that three vessels listed on an IUU fishing vessel list outside of the FISH-i Africa region had been unwittingly flagged to one of the FISH-i countries. In response, the three IUU vessels were de-registered in September 2013.
Uncovered false vessel identities
In October 2013, a tuna long liner was arrested and confiscated by South Africa for illegally fishing in its waters. FISH-i Africa investigations showed irregularities between how the vessel looked and earlier photos of the legitimate vessel under the same name, suggesting that it may have been stolen and names switched to cover up its illegal past. Links were also uncovered between the vessel owner and a vessel that had been arrested in Tanzania in 2009 for illegal fishing, casting yet more suspicions on the case.
Escaped vessels tracked and located
In December 2013, two out of ten vessels that were being held in South Africa for fishing illegally fled the port of Cape Town in contravention of an arrest order. To escalate the search for the two missing vessels to an international level, In January 2014, Interpol issued a Purple Notice. FISH-I Africa was actively searching for the vessels when it located them heading for Mombasa, Kenya in February 2014.