fisheries (2)

9929965484?profile=RESIZE_710xDepleting 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.

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Maintaining the quality and safety of Australian food and fibre products for domestic and export markets is paramount. Product fraud is on the rise and has the potential to cause significant harm to Australia’s reputation for producing high-quality goods and ultimately reduce returns at the farm gate. Globally, food fraud is becoming a significant challenge, estimated to cost $40-50 billion a year, and $2-3 billion in Australia alone.

In aspiring to reach the National Farmers’ Federation’s target of $100 billion in farm gate value by 2030, Australian producers need to be able to mitigate incidents of product fraud to ensure that trust is maintained with consumers and that producers can capitalise on changing consumer and market trends.

This report, written by Deakin University, explores the range of product fraud cases – from simple substitution or incorrect labelling of a product to more sophisticated methods that result in consumers paying a premium price for a counterfeit product.

High-value products such as beef and seafood are particularly at risk of substitution, as well as the use of fillers to increase volume and mislabelling about provenance and quality. The drivers behind product fraud are commonly linked to shortages or constraint of supply in raw ingredients, and while our ability to detect fraud continues to improve, there is a need for a whole-of-supply-chain approach to combat the problem.

But while the problem is real, and on the rise, the report highlights technology solutions that exist and are ready to be deployed along the supply chain, to reduce the incidence of fraud. A plethora of solutions are needed to make an impact on global fraud. A coordinated supply chain approach is an important first step to mitigate the potential risks and protect Australia’s reputation in domestic and global markets.

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