Drug trafficking at sea is devastating island states, ministers say
“Ministers from tiny island states including Palau, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati are calling for help over the ‘devastating’ impacts of criminal networks in the fishing industry. Fishermen, unable to work because stocks are so low, are being lured into gun-running and drug trafficking by international organised crime, the small island nations’ officials told an industry conference in Copenhagen this week. Estimates of the scale of the problem varies, but the black market in marine wildlife including corals and reef fish in south-east Asia and the Pacific alone is worth US $850m (£625m), according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The actual costs of crime in the industry, which includes tax transgressions, human trafficking and other offences, is far greater.
‘Transnational organised crime in the fishing industry is a serious crime that disregards the rule of law, mocks our sovereignty and depletes our ocean resources,’ said Mas Achmad Santosa, a member of the Indonesian taskforce to combat illegal fishing, who was speaking on behalf of Susi Pudjiastuti, the fisheries minister of Indonesia. It remains one of the biggest threats to ocean resources, by harming our environment and undermining human rights, he said.”