INTERPOL — Seafish


The INTERPOL Global Fisheries Enforcement team assists agencies in member countries to detect, suppress and combat fisheries crime.

As a specific project INTERPOL did launch Project Scale in February 2013.  Project Scale was supported by the Government of Norway, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the United States Department of State. In its activities, INTERPOL looks at all types of illegality and criminality which facilitate or accompany illegal fishing activities but reach beyond the traditional definition of illegal fishing. These associated criminal activities may include fraud, avoidance of taxes and handling of stolen goods, corruption, money laundering, document falsification, drug trafficking and human trafficking.

Report: Chasing Red Herrings: Flags of Convenience, secrecy and the impact on fisheries crime law enforcement. 25 September 2017.

The North Atlantic Fisheries Intelligence Group and Interpol report.  The focus of this report is the jurisdictions that facilitate secrecy in fisheries, the flags of convenience, and particularly those that are contracted out to private companies, the so-called private flags, and the impact flags of convenience and secrecy has on effective fisheries crime law enforcement. Human rights are mentioned throughout – fishing is regarded as one of the most dangerous occupations in the world and, at sea, fishers’ safety and wellbeing are at the mercy of senior officers and the protection afforded by the flag state. A number of investigations in recent years have uncovered forced labour and human trafficking of fishers of a severity that prompted UNODC to describe the practice as ‘cruel and inhumane treatment in the extreme’. Law enforcement officers uncovering these practices are mainly notified when vessels come to port. Internationally accepted rules for decent working conditions for fishers would set an industry standard and assist law enforcement officers to detect and prevent labour exploitation and forced labour in fisheries.

INTERPOL Global Fisheries Enforcement. International Law Enforcement Cooperation in the Fisheries Sector: A Guide for Law Enforcement Practitioners. April 2018.

The guide frames the experience of five years’ work on fisheries related crime by INTERPOL and its member countries. It is based on the reality of the enhanced law enforcement results achieved by working together using INTERPOL’s capabilities alongside those of other Inter-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society; and by connecting national enforcement agencies, often on opposite sides of the world. The goal of this Guide is to provide a comprehensive resource to enhance and develop the capacity, capability and cooperation of member countries to effectively tackle illegal fishing and crimes associated to the fisheries sector.

Significance for seafood businesses: 

This is an initiative that is monitoring activities at sea, including human rights abuses. This will help buyers assess their supply chain and make an informed judgement on the risks they face when sourcing seafood.

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