What is the problem?
Fish and fishery products are the most traded food commodity globally. This is particularly so for developing nations where fish trade represents a significant source of foreign currency earnings. The sector also plays an important role as a generator of household income and employment.
Fish provides a vital source of food and nutritional security. But global fish stocks are severely over-fished and the health of the world’s oceans is under threat. Illegal fishing is one of the main contributors to overfishing.
Yet despite significant effort worldwide to stem illegal fishing it has continued unabated. An estimated USD 30 billion is lost to illegal fishing annually, with the highest rates in West African waters. Tackling illegal fishing is thus an increasingly important policy objective, especially for African coastal states.
An added layer of serious criminal activity in the fisheries sector associated with illegal has resulted in a complex international problem known as ‘fisheries crime’, the causes, patterns and implications of which require urgent attention.
The knowledge and expertise required to engage with these questions extends well beyond the traditional realm of fisheries management into areas as diverse as economic crime, human rights, sociology, transnational organised crime, criminal law, public international law, policing and security.