CARIBBEAN STATES IMPROVE ABILITY TO PROSECUTE FISHERIES CASES
Written by Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) on October 25, 2017
Twenty border control officers from six Member States of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) have completed a three-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, held at the Coast Guard Base of the Barbados Defense Force, brought together officers of the Antigua and Barbuda Defense Force Coast Guard, Barbados Coast Guard, Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit, Royal Grenada Police Force Marine Unit, Royal Saint Lucia Police Force Marine Unit, the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force Coast Guard, and the St. Kitts Nevis Defense Force Coast Guard.
The aim of the course was to heighten the awareness and enhance the skills and competencies of authorized officers who have border security responsibilities for enforcing the laws under the Fisheries Acts, Fisheries Regulations and supporting administrative policies.
Participants have increased their capability to function in an operational environment and in accordance with best practices based on the 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 responsibilities are now more knowledgeable about the correct procedures to follow while enforcing the laws under their Fisheries Acts and Regulations. They are also 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 has been perpetrated. IUU fishing is a major concern for CARICOM States, as it undermines efforts to conserve and sustainably manage the region’s fisheries resources and jeopardizes food security, livelihoods, and foreign exchange earnings from fisheries.
The subject matter experts who facilitated the course were drawn from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) – Barbados; the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Secretariat; the Royal Barbados Police Force Marine Unit; Royal Navy – Fisheries Protection Squadron; the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic – Barbados; the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture Food Fisheries and Water Resource Management – Barbados; and the Regional Security System Headquarters. All participants were awarded an RSS Certificate of Training for the successful completion of the Fisheries Prosecution and Interdiction course.
The course was jointly funded by European Union through the 10th EDF Project and RSS Headquarters. The Regional Security System (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 anti-terrorism and intelligence gathering and sharing.