FishFORCE, the Fisheries Crime Law Enforcement Academy, housed at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, aims to build local law enforcement expertise and strengthen cooperation between agencies, domestically and cross-border, towards enhanced law enforcement in addressing fisheries crime. The aim is to achieve this via a combination of hands-on expert training of fisheries control law enforcement officers from multiple relevant agencies, continual post-training support and focused research. This should translate into practices on a fisheries crime law enforcement model which promotes use of all relevant laws, administrative and criminal, as entry points for initial detection of fisheries crime and subsequent investigation and prosecution, with focus on transnational and organized crime. FishFORCE is also seen as a cornerstone to support the development of a comprehensive Blue Economy strategy for the countries in the region. To that end Einar Telnes from the Embassy in Nairobi made a presentation on how Norway approaches the Blue Economy nexus at the meeting.
The FishFORCE pilot project, initiated with the assistance of Norwegian funding and in close collaboration with the South African Fisheries Department (DAFF) in 2016, will be rolled out and adapted to all interested partners from early 2017 onwards via Country Chapters. As one of the signatories, Kenya intends to establish its own FishFORCE Academy. Through this training programs will be is developed in Kenya as well as the other countries adapted to their particular needs. NMMU’s FishFORCE Academy will assist in the development of curriculum, harnessing existing local expertise to this end, and ensure that the Academy is technically relevant in the particular partner country.
During the meeting, Norway received a lot of praise from the individual member states on the training programs and assistance provided by Norwegian authorities and institutions on the fisheries sector in developing countries. It was made very clear that Norway competence has a high standing in the global community in this regard.