Exchange experiences in the fight against fisheries crimes, integrate anti-corruption measures, encourage good governance measures and work on prevention with transparency.
These were some of the observations made by Kristian Hölge, representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Peru and Ecuador (Onudd), at the beginning of the first regional session on fisheries crimes that brings together delegates in the city from twelve countries.
“The main issue is corruption, without it we would not have the problems we have, because with money they can corrupt any public official involved in the value chain of the fishing industry around the world,” he said.
The Deputy Minister of Fisheries, Susana Villacís, explained that the problem of fisheries crime is shared in the region and said that the sector is vulnerable to criminal activity.
This is due to the fact that criminal organizations consider it “a low risk and high profitability activity” due to the difficulty of certain countries in making effective maritime controls.
He urged to define actions and comprehensive policies on these crimes “by constituting a phenomenon that escapes the control of policies of purely national scope”. At the end of the appointment, conclusions will be drawn up.
Fish crimes, according to Hölge, stipulate from drug trafficking to smuggling, money laundering, trafficking in persons, corruption, and others.
For his part, Jorge Costain, undersecretary of Fisheries, which is part of the integrated table, added that the third most illicit business in the world is the illegal fishing behind the drug and fuel traffic. He added that the country jointly with the Navy is currently working on the “Sea without Drugs” program.
In Ecuador, the fishermen involved in drug trafficking “is little with the total universe,” he quoted, adding that the plan reports the crimes of meddling in drug trafficking and includes family members of detainees being offered help to enter the labor area.
As an opportunity to draw on the experience of other countries in facing these crimes, an activity still “novel” in the country, said Jaime Dávalos, of the Ministry of Defense. International cooperation is sought, he said.
Meeting of countries
A series of conclusions is expected to be drafted today, once this first meeting of fisheries crimes has ended. They hope to take it to the fisheries crime symposium that will take place this year in Copenhagen, Denmark. (I)