Photo Manual for Fisheries Enforcement, what a great tool! / by Francisco Blaha

As many of you must be aware, I like photography, I think is a great way to communicate,  it "freezes" a piece of reality. And while normally one emphasises the aesthetic or sentimental values of a picture, we forget that "freezing reality" for posterity has an amazing value as "evidence", and knowing how to take good pictures that contain the key elements necessary in fisheries enforcement has become fundamental knowledge for MCS practicioners. 

So I was really pleased to see this Photo Manual for Fisheries Enforcement that has been produced my colleague Per Erik Bergh leading the Stop Illegal Fishing team and Trigg Mat Tracking as part of their support to the FISH-i Africa and West Africa Task Forces, as it covers all the elements.

This manual provides very good information that is fit for purpose, I'll definitely pass this manual to all the inspectors I know in the Pacific.

Photographs play a vital role in identifying vessels that are involved in illegal fishing and fisheries crime. By gathering information about the appearance, identity and operations of fishing vessels we are collecting evidence that may prove crucial for investigations – for example, documenting transhipment, recording which vessels operate together and establishing vessel identity fraud.

The ability to take and analyse photographs are important skills and cameras are an essential tool for anyone involved in fisheries monitoring and enforcement including fisheries inspectors, observers, MCS staff, field staff, the Coastguard and community groups. 

 I took this picture from a suspected illegal transhipment from over 800 m away with my phone camera, I "connected" the lens to a good binocular I had on board. Sometimes, If you don't have the right equipment, you to use your imagination!

I took this picture from a suspected illegal transhipment from over 800 m away with my phone camera, I "connected" the lens to a good binocular I had on board. Sometimes, If you don't have the right equipment, you to use your imagination!

I absolutely agree with them; it is only through the eradication of illegal fishing that developing nations and their people will enjoy the full benefits of stable and increased revenues from their fishery resources.

I wish NFDS (the consulting team behind all this good work), had a more sustained presence in the Pacific as I love to collaborate more with them.