Catching the big fish
Blue Justice is an international initiative against transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry.
As of 2017, 34% of global fish stocks were overfished. How did we get to this point? Crime is one of the drivers. In fact, around one in four fish is estimated to be caught illegally.
Transnational organized fisheries crime undermines global and local efforts to responsibly manage marine resources. It also entails other crimes such as tax fraud, corruption, and modern slavery. Studies find that human trafficking victims are being exploited in the fish processing industry and on board fishing vessels under, sometimes, extreme conditions.
What's more, illegally sourced seafood can threaten food safety, undermine the development of a fair and sustainable blue economy, and affect the food security of coastal people who depend on fish for nutrition.
The Blue Justice Initiative was created to respond to two important declarations against transnational organized crime in the global fishing industry. The most important declaration is the so-called "Copenhagen Declaration", which was originally adopted by 9 ministers at a conference held in 2018 in UN City in Copenhagen. As of June 2021, support for the initiative has grown to 36 states.
The Blue Justice Initiative the implementation of this declaration through several key projects and partners working towards the same goals. The initiative aims to identify the most effective measures to address transnational organized fisheries crime. It identifies, evaluates, and implements multifaceted, knowledge-based actions to solve the underlying problems associated with transnational organized fisheries crime.
Because criminals seek out countries with weak law enforcement capacity to conduct their activities - one well-known trick is to exploit flag states - Blue Justice also supports developing countries to deter and counter transnational organized fisheries crime. It builds capacity and enables cooperation.
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