New Intergovernmental Report Highlights Need for Increased Transparency to Fight Organized Crime at Sea
Oceana Calls on Countries to Make Fisheries Data Publicly Available
Press Release Date: August 18, 2020
Location: Washington, DC
In a new report commissioned by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy (Oceans Panel) — a unique initiative of 14 serving world leaders building momentum towards a sustainable ocean economy — leading experts highlight the threat of organized crime in the fisheries sector and its growing economic, social and environmental impacts. In its new Blue Paper, titled “Organised Crime in the Fisheries Sector,” the Oceans Panel outlines clear steps that must be taken in order to achieve greater transparency at sea to help fight organized crime.
Oceana’s deputy vice president for U.S. campaigns, Beth Lowell, released the following statement in response to the new report:
“As outlined in the newly released Blue Paper, organized crime in the fisheries sector hurts fishers, workers and the oceans. This organized crime can take many forms, including fisheries offenses, fraud, corruption, tax crime, money laundering, drug trafficking and the smuggling of people. Criminal networks that engage in these crimes take advantage of the opaqueness of the seafood sector and often operate in regions with limited monitoring and enforcement capacity. Organized crime undermines efforts to sustainably manage fisheries and maintain food security. The Blue Paper also examines the links between crimes such as money laundering or smuggling of people and illegal fishing. Increased transparency will leave illegal fishers and fisheries crime with fewer places to hide. Oceana joins the authors of the Blue Paper in their call to governments to increase transparency in fisheries governance and take action against organized crime in the fishing sector.
Specifically, Oceana calls on countries to:
- Mandate that fishing vessels are equipped with and use publicly accessible tracking technology, such as Automatic Identification Systems (AIS), while at sea;
- Release their Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) data to the public;
- Ensure that fishing vessel authorizations are publicly available;
- Make information on the real owners of fishing vessels public; and
- Ban their citizens from engaging in or supporting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing anywhere in the world.
The governments of the world should work together to ensure that all seafood is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced and honestly labeled to protect the oceans and the people who depend upon them.”
To learn more about Oceana’s campaign to increase transparency at sea, please click here.