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Organised Crime in the Fisheries Sector

The threat of criminal activity in the fisheries sector has concerned the international community for a number of years. In more recent times, organized crime in fisheries as a phenomenon has come to the fore.  It is frequently transnational and can manifest in a broad range of criminal offences, the most common being economic crimes, such as money laundering, fraud, forgery, tax and customs evasion, corruption, and human trafficking.

Anecdotal, scientific and case-base evidence of the multitude of manifestations of organized crime in fisheries, its widespread adverse impacts on economies, societies and the environment globally, and its international security implications is now publicly available.

This paper draws on this evidence in presenting the current state of knowledge on organized crime in the fisheries sector in the context of the pursuit of a sustainable ocean economy. With reference to worldwide best practices, the paper presents practical recommendations to address organized crime in fisheries emphasizing the need for a shared understanding of the problem and the implementation of intelligence-led, skills-based cooperative law enforcement action at a global level, facilitated by enabling legislative frameworks and increased transparency. 

The authors for this paper are: Emma Witbooi, Kamal-Deen Ali, Mas Achmad SantosaGail Hurley, Yunus Husein, Sarika Maharaj, Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood, Inés Arroyo Quiroz and Omar Salas.

'Organised Crime in the Fisheries Sector' was launched via a webinar 'The Shadow Blue Economy: Tackling Organised Crime in Fisheries' on 18th August 2020. The webinar was moderated by Siri Bjun, Deputy Head Global Maritime Crime Programme, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and featured opening remarks from Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, Minister of Fisheries and Seafood, Norway alongside co-lead authors Emma Witbooi, Kamal-Deen Ali, Mas Achmad Santosa as well as contributing author Sarika Maharaj. Mi Zhou of the International Labour Organization and Gunnar Stølsvik, Specialist Director, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Norway also joined the panel discussion.

Along with the WRI blog, ‘The Impact of Organized Crime in Fisheries Extends Far Beyond the Ocean’ by Blue Paper author Emma Witbooi; Nature also published an adapted version of the Blue Paper ‘Organized crime in the fisheries sector threatens a sustainable ocean economy’. 



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