INTERPOL, the global police network, has issued an alert seeking information on a rogue fishing vessel believed to have been taking fish illegally for over a decade. According to the alert, the vessel – a 70-meter (230 feet) long trawler known as "Snake" - has operated under 12 different names in the past 10 years, and been registered under the flag of at least eight different countries. It is suspected of continuing to fish in the South Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Southern and Central Africa.
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The "Snake" has been blacklisted by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) since 2004, and by the South East Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (SEAFO) since 2007. Because of concerns that the ship's activities are continuing, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries requested the issuance of a notice – the first to be issued for a fishing vessel, and the first under Project SCALE, which INTERPOL launched earlier this year in cooperation with Norway and the Pew Charitable Trusts to specifically hunt down illegal fishing operations.
"This is the first time INTERPOL's network has been used to combat illegal fishing. Cooperation through INTERPOL is a new tool in the fight against fisheries crime, and I am glad that Norway has been able to take on a leading role in this cooperation," said Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Norway's Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs.
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INTERPOL issues seven types of color-coded notices across its law enforcement activity areas; a ‘Purple Notice', such as the one issued for "Snake," are used to "seek or provide information on modi operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals." According to INTERPOL, the notice "aims to gather information on the location and activities of the "Snake", as well as on the individuals and networks which own, operate and profit from its illegal actions."
Photograph of the "Snake", via INTERPOL