NA-FIG Inter-agency Workshop and Table Top Exercise held in Copenhagen

North Atlantic House Copenhagen

Supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers

On 29-30 October 2019, North Atlantic House, Copenhagen, the North Atlantic Fisheries Intelligence Group (NA-FIG) arranged a workshop and table top exercise (TTX) on fisheries crime with the financial support of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The workshop and TTX had 45 participants from nine countries (Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Iceland, Greenland, United Kingdom, Canada, Faroe Islands and Norway) around the North Atlantic Ocean representing agencies such as Customs, Fisheries, Tax, Food Safety, the Coast Guard, Maritime authoriesi and the Police. During the exercise the participants were required to solve problems, and identify illegalities and dilemmas throughout the whole fisheries value chain from the point at which the fish were harvested through to their consumption by the general public.

The Nordic Council of Ministers has, since 2017, provided financial support to the NA-FIG in order to stimulate further cooperation between Nordic countries with regards to analyzing and investigating crimes throughout the fisheries value chain via the project titled “Fisheries crime in a Nordic perspective.” In 2018 the Nordic Council of Ministers also supported the publication of a report on flags of convenience and secrecy and the impact this has on fisheries law enforcement.

The purpose of the workshop and TTX was to consider problems and scenarios from the perspective of the various different agencies that have a stake in combating transnational organized crime in the fishing industry. By identifying and considering the differing viewpoints of the various agencies and focusing on how to raise the profile of fisheries crime, the aim was to find ways to enhance cooperation between relevant the agencies both nationally and internationally.

Towards the goal of preventing and combating fisheries crime, the workshop and TTX examined the various agencies’ areas of responsibility, their powers and their methods of enforcement.

The aim was to highlight cross-agency responsibilities and the need for information sharing and inter-agency cooperation. Participants should gain knowledge and achieve a broader perspective of the range of issues that exist along the fisheries value chain with the aim of enhancing their ability to detect, prevent and combat fisheries crime in the context of:

  • Limitations imposed by agency responsibilities and legislative frameworks;
  • The impact of a lack of co-operation within states and across national boundaries;
  • Gaps in the legislation; and
  • Emerging and unidentified risks.

The feedback on the workshop and TTX was good, both on layout and on content. The inter-agency and cross border approach provided the participations a broader perspective, that is, a more “holistic approach”, and highlighted the need for cooperation between authorities at national and international level.

NA-FIG will follow up recommendations regarding closer inter agency – and international cooperation and aims to set up further similar workshops and tabletop exercises.

October 30, 2019
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