The second planning meeting of The Safe Ocean Network took place in Washington, USA on June 15-16 2017. Established in 2015, the network seeks to build a global community to strengthen all aspects of the fight against illegal fishing including detection, enforcement, and prosecution. There are currently 27 governments and 19 inter-governmental and non-governmental partners affiliated with the Network.
The Safe Ocean Network is focused on increasing collaboration between countries and organisations combatting illegal fishing around the world. Sharing information and data is essential to catch illegal fishers as they move from the waters of one country to another and over the high seas, transfer fish between boats, and offload illegally caught fish around the world. Per Erik Bergh of Stop Illegal Fishing was able to share lesson learning from the FISH-i Africa Task Force on the value of regional cooperation and the importance of information sharing.
Presentations also focussed on technological developments and the array of systems and tools that are being developed to assist in the identification and prevention of illegal fishing activity. Funding resources were also discussed by Chuck Fox of Oceans 5.
The future development and future structure of The Safe Ocean Network was explored as the meeting reflected on future opportunity to use the convening power of the Network to share the information gained from the development and implementation of the affiliated projects and others. Commenting on the meeting Per Erik Bergh stated, “At Stop Illegal Fishing we encourage all opportunity for cooperation within and among countries. We look forward to working more closely with our partners to effectively combat illegal fishing and associated criminal activity.”