Caribbean States prepare to battle illegal fishing
(Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism Press Release)— Eighteen border control officers from seven Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) are currently undergoing a four-week training course in Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction, organized by the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) in collaboration with the CRFM Secretariat, the Government of Barbados, and the British Royal Navy’s Fisheries Protection Squadron.
The training, being held at the Paragon Base of the Barbados Defense Force, brings together officers of the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force Coast Guard; Antigua and Barbuda Fisheries Division; Barbados Coast Guard; Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Barbados Fisheries Division; Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force; Royal Grenada Police Force Marine Unit; the St. Kitts-Nevis Defense Force Coast Guard; Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Marine Unit; and the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Coast Guard.
The course is expected to improve the skills and competencies of authorised officers responsible for enforcing the Fisheries Acts and Fisheries Regulations, and supporting administrative policies.
Participants are increasing their ability to function in an operational environment and in accordance with best practices based on the CRFM’s Prosecution and Enforcement Manuals for CARIFORUM Member States: Volume 1 – Fisheries Prosecution Manual; and Volume 2 – Fisheries Enforcement Standard Operating Procedures Manual.
These officers who have border security and fisheries prosecution responsibilities, will become more knowledgeable of the correct procedures to follow while enforcing the laws under their Fisheries Acts and Regulations. They will also become better able to prepare for trial proceedings where offences are committed in violation of the Fisheries Laws and where illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing is perpetrated. IUU fishing is a major concern for the region, since it undermines efforts to conserve and sustainably manage fisheries resources and furthermore jeopardizes food security, livelihoods, and foreign exchange earnings from fisheries.
The subject matter experts who facilitated the course were drawn from the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat; the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) – Barbados; the Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Royal Navy – Fisheries Protection Squadron; the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy – Barbados; and the Regional Security System Headquarters. Successful participants will be awarded an RSS Certificate of Training for the completion of the Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction course.
This course was jointly funded by the European Union through the 10th EDF Project and Regional Security System (RSS). The RSS is an international agreement for the defense and security of the Eastern Caribbean region. The seven member nations are: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Member States cooperate in the prevention and interdiction of trafficking in illegal narcotic drugs, in national emergencies, search and rescue, immigration control, fisheries protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, natural and other disasters, pollution control, combating threats to national security, the prevention of smuggling, and in the protection of offshore installations and exclusive economic zones. The RSS also provides training for joint land and maritime operations, disaster relief, anti-drug operations and antiterrorism, and intelligence gathering and sharing.