NOK 49 million in fines for fisheries crime

Fishing vesselIllustration. Fishing vessel

Norway was the first country in the world to report through INTERPOL about a fishing vessel suspected of highly organized fishing crime. Now the ship has been stopped and the owners have got a substantial fine.

– The time when illegal actors can operate freely on the ocean is over. The Norwegian model of cross-border cooperation gives clear results. I hope more countries will help strengthen this cooperation, says Minister of Fisheries, Per Sandberg.

In September 2013, the Norwegian authorities sent a message to police and fishing authorities in all of the 190 member countries of INTERPOL about the fishing vessel ‘Snake’, which was suspected of highly organized fishing crime in the South Sea. Through INTERPOL, the Norwegian authorities urged agencies in all countries to share information and intelligence about the vessel, owners and operators behind the activity.

The Norwegian authorities worked closely with INTERPOL and a number of other countries through the INTERPOL Fisheries Working Group. As a result, Indonesian authorities arrested the vessel, and it was wrecked in February of 2016.

The investigation found that the vessel was stateless, with primarily Spanish and Singaporean ownership interests. After the arrest, the Spanish authorities have investigated the matter further. At present the Spanish fishing authorities have imposed a fine of NOK 49 million, with up to 15 years of fishing bans, as well as up to 12 years of EU subsidy bans, to those with ownership interests in the vessel.

– Thanks to a Norwegian initiative, the Spanish authorities have now put an effective stop to a notorious criminal network that has ravaged the southern seas and the coast of Africa for decades. It shows that international efforts against fisheries crime work, says Sandberg.

 

Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today

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