Evading the Net: Tax Crime in the Fisheries Sector

The fisheries sector is a large and thriving industry within the global economy, with strategic importance for many developed and developing countries. Worldwide, the sector has an annual value in excess of USD 217.5 billion, and over 500 million people in developing countries depend, directly or indirectly, on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods.

This report looks at the issue of tax crime in the fisheries sector, including frauds over taxes on profit and earnings, customs duties, VAT and social security, with examples from real cases. These include crimes that rely on features characteristic of the fisheries sector, as well as those seen in other industries. The report discusses aspects of the sector that make it vulnerable to tax crime, including a lack of transparency and difficulty in obtaining beneficial ownership information resulting from the use of offshore companies and the practice of registering vessels under flags of convenience. Strategies used by tax administrations and other authorities to prevent, detect and investigate tax offences are outlined and the report makes recommendations for steps countries can take, alone or in co-operation, to combat these crimes.


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Nordic Council of Ministers
UNODC: FishNET program
INTERPOL Fisheries Crime Working Group (FCWG)
OECD/Task Force on Tax Crimes and other crimes


The Norwegian national advisory group against organized IUU-fishing (FFA)
North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum (NACGF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)