Scotland is the latest of 26 countries that have so far signed up to Norway’s initiative to fight organised crime in the fishing sector, as Scottish Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing signed the statement.
‘We know that there is – unfortunately – serious crime in the fishing industry. If we are to fight fishing crime, we must stand together. That is why I am pleased that we have Scotland joining the team,’ said Norwegian Fisheries and Seafood Minister Harald T. Nesvik.
He stated that illegal fishing crosses borders and affects coastal societies and law-abiding businesses across the world. A serious crime in itself, illegal fishing is also associated with document fraud, tax fraud, economic crime, organised crime and human trafficking.
‘Norway and Scotland have a long record of good co-operation on fisheries and it is therefore very important that we now have a common understanding of the challenges we face. As two major maritime nations, we have a special responsibility to shed light on this issue,’ Harald Nesvik said.
‘Organised crime in the fishing industry threatens the world’s resources and prevents sustainable use of the oceans. It also creates unfair competition and punishes honest players.’
He said that Norway’s statement confirms that there is organised crime in the global fishing industry and that international co-operation is important to combat this problem, while Norway is working to get the UN General Assembly to recognise fisheries crime as a problem.
‘The international declaration is therefore still the only international political declaration in this area. That makes it important in this field,’ he said.
At this year’s Our Oceans conference, held in Oslo, Norway pledged NoK14 million towards the fight against illegal fishing, through the Blue Justice initiative.
‘I believe that there is an urgent need for the world community to recognise that there is transnational organised crime in fisheries, and that we must address these problems as we do with other crime. We must encourage inter-agency cooperation where relevant authorities co-operate towards this shared goal – to combat and prevent transnational organised crime,’ he said.