FFA & OFMP assists countries to board and prosecute fishing vessels in Cook Islands

RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS 17-21 MAY 2010: Fisheries officers, police and legal staff in Cook Islands learnt more about how to board, inspect and prosecute fishing vessels at an FFA Dockside and Boarding Inspection Workshop which closes today.

Officers were taught subjects including International law, National laws, Regional and Sub-regional Fisheries Agreements, Fishing Vessel Boarding & Evidence Collections and Court Procedures.

FFA has provided these workshops for all its member countries and territories to strengthen monitoring, control and surveillance in the Pacific Islands region. In addition to fisheries and police or navy officers, crown law office staff and public prosecutions staff, officers in related roles such as immigration, customs and quarantine agencies have also attended the workshops. A total of 400 participants from 15 FFA member countries have participated since 2005.

Officers doing boarding, inspection and evidence collection need an increased understanding of how fishing vessels operate and changes to international law and measures adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, as well as their national laws, to do their work effectively.

FFA’s assistance provides expertise and training on the international legal instruments, regional agreements and national law to give officers a broader understanding of their work and its relation to prosecution of fishing vessels for offences.

The next workshop will be held in Nauru from 14  to 18 of June 2010.

Funding for the workshops is provided by FFA (www.ffa.int) and the UN Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the Pacific Islands Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (www.ffa.int/gef).