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Nelson Mandela University’s FishFORCE Academy recently introduced a virtual law enforcement game to assist law enforcement officers in the fisheries crime environment. The game is mobile-based and available on all smartphones.

“FishFORCE wants to hone in on the game-based education model termed “gamification”, which will allow users to learn through experience and the use of a virtual environment, while leading them to approach problem-solving through critical thinking, says FishFORCE COO Michael de Lange.

FishFORCE developed the game for the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and the Marine and Ocean Crime Priority Crime Committee (Operation Phakisa) to benefit government law enforcement agencies.

FishFORCE, the first ever in Africa and funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was launched in 2016 in line with the University’s strategic decision to develop a strong marine and maritime institutional focus.

Over the past six years, the University has established itself as a world leader in the training of fisheries law enforcement agencies and in research and advocacy aimed at combating organised crime in the fisheries environment.

“We have handed the game over to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment and the Marine and Ocean Crime Priority Crime Committee (Operation Phakisa) to identify users,  thus ensuring targeted access to derive proper data analytics and to monitor the users’ performance and their learning journey”, De Lange says. 

The need for the game really came to the fore due to Covid-19. The game features a virtual simulation environment of inspecting a fishing vessel to ensure compliance with the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA).

The Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) entered into force on 5 June 2016 and is the first binding international agreement, which specifically targets Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing by preventing such vessels from using ports and landing their catches.

The game was designed to focus mainly on bridge inspections and specifically the skills required to thoroughly inspect key documents, such as permits, logs, registrations and transhipments.

FishFORCE has also been able to touch on a wider range of topics that are  relevant and relatable to a typical Fishery Control Officer (FCO) player, such as bridge inspection, crew interviews, basic gear inspection, hold inspection, evidence of blast fishing, signs of human trafficking, identification of fraud,  drugs and weapons , De Lange says.

The game was developed by a company called SeaMonster based in Cape Town and the music was developed by a Mandela University alumnus Ngasiirwe Katushabe, who is the technical manager at Madibaz Radio. 

Contact information
Mr Michael de Lange
Chief Operating Officer FishFORCE
Tel: 0415044961