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CRFM Executive Director speaking with Marianne Sivertsen Næss, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy and Gunnar Stølsvik, Specialist Director at the Blue Justice Secretariat


In the photo above: Milton Haughton, CRFM Executive Director (left), with Gunnar Stølsvik, Specialist Director at the Blue Justice Secretariat (center), and Marianne Sivertsen Næss, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy (right)

Photo credit: Peter A. Murray, CRFM


Oslofjord, Norway, 18 June 2024--The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) and ten of its Member States–The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago– are attending the celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the Blue Justice Initiative, being held at the historical site Oscarsborg Fortress in the Oslofjord. CRFM Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, and CRFM Advisor - Fisheries Management and Development, Mr. Peter A. Murray, were among the 130 people who joined Norwegian partners at the event.

In 2018, nine countries came together in Copenhagen, Denmark, to create the Declaration against transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry, known as the Copenhagen Declaration. In 2019, Norway, as the custodian of the Copenhagen Declaration, established the Blue Justice Initiative to assist States attain their aspirations.

In May 2021, the CRFM Ministerial Council at its 15th Regular Meeting adopted the Resolution Regarding the Copenhagen Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry and the Blue Justice Initiative. Since then, 14 CRFM Member States have signed on to the declaration.

Several speakers addressed the gathering at the opening ceremony. Speaking on “Ocean on Norwegian Foreign Policy and Development Cooperation”, Trond Gabrielsen, Director, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that in 2019, Norway launched the Blue Justice Initiative to assist countries with implementing the Copenhagen Declaration. He noted that initially there was only 9 signatories, but today there are over 60 signatories.

Karianne Moen, Head of Section of crime prevention, Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, presented “A public administration perspective,” highlighting the need to develop a deeper understanding of other crimes related to the fisheries sector as well as the actions needed to combat illegal activities, including the formulation of international accords, intelligence sharing, and the use of technology to identify and track vessels utilized in illegal fishing and transnational organized crime in the sector.

In sharing “A global fisherman’s perspective,” Sverre Johansen, General Secretary, Norwegian Fisherman Association, underscored that for the majority of fishers who are operating legally, it is important to maintain their ability to compete and to secure their future business. He added that transnational organized crime has a severe effect on the economy, distorts markets, harms the environment, devastates consumer trust, and destroys business.

“How can learning institutions support Blue Justice,” Stig Jarle Hansen, Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, said that the efforts need to be global, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary.

Arve Dimmen, Director Navigation Technology and Maritime, Norwegian Coastal Administration, pointed to the critical importance of interagency collaboration and coordination to leverage the analytical insights derived from satellite and AIS frameworks. She spoke of “The importance of maritime surveillance,” for regulating and monitoring maritime traffic.

Norway's deployment of satellites and antennae networks across 30 locations was noted by Maja-Stina Ekstedt, Vice President Sustainability, KSAT, President NIFRO, among “The technological contribution to solutions.” She emphasized the need for cooperation across jurisdictions, to enhance monitoring of activities across ocean spaces using all available tools.


From the left: Tor Glistrup - Consultant Fisheries Inspector; Fatou Bensouda - Gambian Ambassador to Norway; Henrik Fredborg Larsen - Director UNDP Nordic Representation Office; Bjørg Sandkjær - Norwegian State Secretary for the Minister of International Development; Gunnar Stølsvik - Sekretariat of Blue Justice; Delores Kotze - South African Ambassador to Norway; Nina Vaaja - Director of Barents Watch. (Photo: Peter A Murray, CRFM)


Speaking at the subsequent Launch of the Global Investigative Ship Tracking User Portal (GLISTRUP), CRFM Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, emphasized the need for urgent, enhanced, concerted measures to prevent, deter, and eliminate all forms of fisheries crimes.

"Fisheries crimes undermine the significant sacrifice that our countries and our law-abiding fishers make in order to conserve and protect the fish stocks and the marine ecosystem. In these difficult times, characterized by high levels of unemployment, high and rising import bills, growing food and nutrition insecurity, rising crime and social ills, as well as the enormous challenges brought on us by the negative impacts of climate change and ocean acidification we just continue to allow our fisheries and ocean resources to be plundered and destroyed, our conservation and management measures to be undermined, and the future of our countries and indeed our children damaged by fisheries crimes," Haughton said.

In October 2021, twelve CRFM Member States signed the Declaration together. Those Member States are The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, The Turks and Caicos Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago. Several of those Ministers participated in the Blue Justice Conference 2023, held 23-24 March 2023 in UN City, Copenhagen, Denmark. On that occasion, two more CRFM Member States—Barbados and Dominica—became signatories to the international declaration.


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Video of the Celebration of the 5th Anniversary of the Blue Justice Initiative and the Launch of the Global Investigative Ship Tracking User Portal (GLISTRUP)

Published in Articles


Belize City, Friday, 24 June 2022 (CRFM)—The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), the CARICOM institution designated as the region’s intergovernmental organization responsible for fisheries development and management, is partnering with Norway, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Blue Resilience Project, to host a high-level side event addressing organized crime in the global fisheries industry at the UN Oceans Conference 2022. The side event will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, on Wednesday, 29 June.


During the high-level side event, which will highlight international and regional measures to address fisheries crime towards reducing food security threats with innovative digital tools and inter-agency capacity support, CRFM’s Executive Director, Mr. Milton Haughton, will chair a panel on CARICOM’s regional instruments to address fisheries crime. This event advances the efforts of partners to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and transnational organized crime in the fishing industry, while protecting food security, employment, and the blue economy.




Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr, MP - Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica; Hon. Andre Perez - Minister of the Blue Economy & Civil Aviation, Belize; and Hon. Saboto Caesar - Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Rural Transformation, Industry & Labour, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, will join in this discussion on fisheries enforcement and the international and regional instruments to cooperatively tackle organized crime in the global fishing industry. Also joining the panel will be Ms. Emma Witbooi, Project Manager of Blue Resilience, UNDP; and Mr. Gunnar A. Stølsvik, Specialist Director, Fisheries Department at the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.

This is the first time the CRFM is collaborating with Norway to raise the profile of this issue at the UN Oceans Conference, and it serves to strengthen the alliance which began to be forged after the CRFM and its Member States endorsed the International Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing Industry (also known as ‘the Copenhagen Declaration’) and affirmed their support for the Blue Justice Initiative. Belize, Jamaica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are among the 12 CRFM Member States which signed the Copenhagen Declaration in October 2021.

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Website & Registration Link:https://bluejustice.org/un-ocean-conference-2022/

Live stream link: https://app.livecasts.eu/international-and-caribbean-efforts-to-address-organised-crime-in-the-fishing-industry/program

Date: Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Time: 15:45-17:15 CET (equivalent to 8:45 a.m. in Belize, 9:45 a.m. in

Jamaica, and 10:45 a.m. in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.)


Follow event on the CRFM’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/CarFisheries


Published in Press release


On 21 May 2021, The Ministerial Council of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), an institution of CARICOM, adopted a resolution on the Copenhagen Declaration on Transnational Organized Crime in the Global Fishing industry and the Blue Justice Initiative.

The Ministerial Council of CRFM consists of the Ministers responsible for fisheries from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos Islands.

In the resolution, the Ministers highlighted that IUU-fishing and Transnational Organized Crime in the global fishing industry constitute a serious threat to the security and sustainable use of the living marine resources and marine biodiversity, and that it jeopardizes the food security and blue economic development of the countries in the region.

It was also stated that the Ministerial Council “supports the Copenhagen Declaration and encourages Ministers responsible for fisheries to individually support the declaration and convey their interest in cooperating and benefitting from the Blue Justice Initiative…”



The International Blue Justice Tracking Center established in the Arctic town of Vardø (photo: flickr/cc/Mickey Bo)


An “International Blue Justice Tracking Center” has been established under the Blue Justice Initiative. The Center will be supported by the joint analytical unit of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and the Coastal Administration and is located in the town of Vardø.

The Center will be supported by analysts from the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate who will work together with colleagues around the world to produce reports on the movement of fishing vessels and potential illegal fishing operations.

As an important part of the Blue Justice initiative, the Center will also work closely with other partners of the initiative, such as UNODC’s Container Control Programme, UNODC’s Global Maritime Crime Programme and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Information about it can be seen here: https://bluejustice.org/the-international-blue-justice-tracking-center-established-under-the-blue-justice-initiative-in-the-arctic-town-of-vardo/





MinisterSabotoCaesarThe CRFM promotes and facilitates the responsible utilization of the region’s fisheries and other aquatic marine resources for the economic and social benefits of the people of the region. The CRFM consists of three bodies: the Ministerial Council, the Caribbean Fisheries Forum, and the CRFM Secretariat.

The chair of the Ministerial Council is Minister Hon. Saboto Caesar of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.


Published in Press release

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