May 8th, 2018

For many years now, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, more commonly known as Chatham House, has hosted a forum to discuss issues related to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Considered to be the second most influential think tank in the world after the Brookings Institute, Chatham House has a core mission to promote a greater understanding of international issues and current affairs. Many influential speakers have graced the Chatham House podium throughout the years, including Ban Ki-Moon and Madeline Albright.

In light of this illustrious mission and history, Sea Shepherd Legal was privileged to be invited to speak at this year’s forum on the topic of “Effective Enforcement and Sanctions.” Drawing upon experience working with governments around the world and involvement in Sea Shepherd’s global campaigns combatting IUU fishing, our Legal Director, Brett Sommermeyer, provided an overview of effective enforcement tools that may be brought to bear from interdiction at sea to the courtroom. Also participating on the enforcement panel were a representative from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and one of the founders of Fish-I Africa, which has been orchestrating strong, regional enforcement actions against IUU fishing in West African waters.

In addition to enforcement, other topics covered during the two-day forum included highlighting the role of the banking and investment industry in promoting IUU fishing, depriving IUU fishing vessels of marine insurance, using technological resources like Global Fishing Watch to identify IUU fishing activities, finding ways to address shameful labor conditions at sea, preventing harmful transshipment, and eliminating the scourge of abandoned fishing nets – curtains of death nicknamed “ghost nets.”

The forum was extremely informative and productive. Sea Shepherd Legal warmly thanks Chatham House for inviting it to attend and looks forward to participating again in the future.

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