Depleting fish stocks are having a detrimental impact on the world’s biodiversity and food chain. According to INTERPOL’s environmental and maritime security teams, which coordinated a five-month intelligence-led operation (June- October 2021) spanning 34 countries and all ‘Seven Seas’, the decrease in marine living resources are also driving a surge in fisheries-related crime.
A total of 1,710 inspections carried out during the one-month tactical phase of Operation IKATERE uncovered over 100 cases of fisheries and other crimes. More than 40 arrest warrants have already been issued, while many investigations remain ongoing.
Nearly one tonne of illicit products were seized worldwide, including protected fish and wildlife species, drugs and explosives. Law enforcement in Montenegro alone recovered more than 20 cylinders of explosives during the operation.
“The use of explosives as an illegal fishing method is a growing trend amongst the industry’s unscrupulous actors, as the progressive depletion of fish stocks pushes vessels to maintain catch rates at any cost,” said Ilana De Wild, INTERPOL’s Director of Organized and Emerging Crime.
“Their use also boosts the circulation of explosives that can be used by criminal or terrorist groups. Bomb makers behind terrorist attacks in recent years have been found to also be providing explosives to the illegal fishing industry,” Ms De Wild added.
Read full article.