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Illegal Fishing and the Law of the Sea

April 9, 2015


International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), an intergovernmental body with the power to settle disputes related to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea has put forward a very important legal opinion.

The Advisory Opinion was issued on April 2 in regards to a question on how the West African Sub Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) – comprised of Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone – might respond to illegal fishing vessels.  This is quite important as, by one estimate, illegal fishing accounts for 37% of total catches in West Africa.

While you can read legalese to your heart’s content (see here), this is one of the special times when the importance of the decision can be put in pretty simple terms: Read more…

Intelligence-led Policing in Fisheries (RBC part V)

March 23, 2015
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Use of AFMA domestic compliance intelligence

In the most recent post in this series on Risk-based Compliance (RBC) programs for fisheries, I looked at how such programs set the groundwork for a specific type of “risk treatment”, one which fits the description of what is known in mainstream law enforcement as “problem-oriented policing”. In this post, I conclude the series by considering a final “big idea” for fisheries management. Specifically, I argue that fisheries management agencies should prioritize the collection and management of compliance data. Read more…

Seafood Fraud and Federal Action

March 20, 2015


There’s a nice piece over at The Atlantic on seafood fraud and the recent Presidential initiative to tackle it.  Read more…

Reflections on a Career in Fisheries and Marine Science

March 19, 2015


Brian J. Rothschild has an intriguing article in the ICES Journal of Marine Science in which he reflects on a long and successful career in fisheries and marine research. I think the concluding paragraphs are worth a read by anyone entering into the marine science field, if not academic research more broadly. It speaks to the difficulty of predicting what ideas will “gain currency” and potential flaws in how ideas are spread. Read more…

Corruption in Fisheries Management

March 18, 2015


There’s a great new article out from Aksel Sundrström at Global Environmental Change. It’s particularly interesting as it provides theoretical development to Ostrom’s commonpool resource work (specifically how CPRs can be managed in corrupt environments) and, amazingly, a strong empirical look at fisheries corruption in South Africa. Below are a few choice excerpts. Read more…

Presidential Task Force releases action plan to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud

March 18, 2015

IUU-Fraud Task Force Action Plan-FINAL_Page_01_300

The final action plan from the Presidential Task Force on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud has now been release. More on that over at NOAA.  You can also find the report here.

All in all, I think it represents a strong step forward for the U.S., especially in the realm of traceability. I would have liked to have seen more specifics on international capacity building, but the process they lay out makes a lot of sense. So time will tell (specifically the next year) if the U.S. might push some of the recommendations my colleagues and I made in the last round of comments.


Problem-Oriented Policing in Fisheries (RBC part IV)

March 16, 2015

SARA (for scanning, analysis, response, and assessment) is a common tool used to implement problem-oriented policing in mainstream law enforcement.

This is part 4 of an on-going series on Risk-based Compliance (RBC) programs for fisheries, with Australia serving as the prime example.

In the last post, I explored how the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) conducts its biennial compliance risk assessments. In this post, I look at how AFMA “treats”, or responds to, the risks that come out as priorities through the assessment process, and what I find is a rare and terrific example of what’s known in the field of criminology as Problem-oriented Policing. (Or, as I put in the post that initiated this series, RBC suggests that “treatments of compliance risks should be targeted, experimental, and risk-based.”) Read more…


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