Goal 14.4 is another addition to the existing efforts through different types of instruments at global and regional level to end IUUF. Many, in if not all, of those instruments address IUUF only from the perspective of fisheries management issues, but not addressing crimes that correlate to the fisheries industries. This is probably the main reason why international community continues to face the threats of IUUF and fish stock has continued to dwindle.
Indonesian experiences in fighting IUUF have revealed that all of over 1000 vessels that were caught illegally fishing in Indonesia have all violated all kinds of laws and regulations. To start, most of them are committed to forgery of vessels documents, double flagging and double registering, fishing without licenses/appropriate documents, illegal modification of vessel, using foreign captain and seamen, deactivation of vessels transmitter (VMS and AIS), illegal transshipment, forgery of logbook record, violation of fishing ground, using prohibited fishing gear, non-compliance in owning/partnering with a fish processing unit, and unlawful landing of catches.
We also identified types of other crimes that can be related to fisheries, such as illegal transaction of fuel, immigration-related crime, custom-related crime, money laundering, tax crime, corruption, human rights abuses, arms trafficking and illicit drugs trafficking. Many of those violations are of transnational organized crime. Moreover, when fisheries crime is combined with pre-existing security threats from those crimes, it can be part of a national and regional maritime security problem.
In order to address crimes in fisheries sector, we need a new approach that will contribute to the deterrence and elimination of those crimes, that will also contribute to global fight against IUUF as stipulated in Goal no. 14 of SDGs. Such an approach would require all important actors to act together in consent. In this context, flag States, coastal States, port States, markets and fishing entities could work together in one cooperative platform based on a legally binding instrument.
Against this backdrop, Indonesia launched its initiative to establish a regional cooperation to combat crimes in fisheries sector. The geographic footprint of the proposal is the water of Southeast Asian countries and its neighboring countries, namely Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Island, Australia, New Zealand, Palau and China. The markets, which are represented by the European Union, the United States, Japan and Korea as well as relevant fishing entities will also be included in this platform.
This cooperation or the future regional instrument may cover the strengthening of responsibilities of flag States, port States, coastal States, port-to-port cooperation, fisheries inspection cooperation, exchange of information, capacity building, catch-certificate scheme, law enforcement cooperation, the use of legal assistance in cases involving transnational criminal activities.
Indonesia had conducted a regional conference twice. The conference attended by countries in the region, market States and also relevant international organization such as FAO, UNODC, and Interpol. The 1st technical working group meeting will be held in 2-3 May 2017 in Surabaya, Indonesia. Indonesia is hoping that the regional cooperation can be sealed in 2018.