Rotten Fish: A guide on addressing corruption in the fisheries sector

NA-FIG experts have contributed to this work

The global fishing industry is made up of a complex net of activities, actors and authorities spread across multiple countries and jurisdictions. The sheer complexity brings with it regulatory and enforcement challenges, and provides numerous opportunities for criminals to break the law. Corruption strikes at the core of the fight against fisheries crime. It threatens effective regulation and crime prevention at every stage of the fisheries value chain, exposing it to a wide range of risks, from the preparation of forged licences and the underreporting of quantities of caught fish at landing, through to the sale of mislabeled fish, among others. Corruption also undercuts the efforts of law enforcement to investigate and prosecute fisheries crime when it does occur.

All other efforts to regulate the fisheries sector and combat fisheries crime will fail unless the disease of corruption is addressed.

This UNODC guide is designed to help policymakers with the challenging task of identifying the specific areas in their legal and regulatory frameworks susceptible to corruption, and to act to address those weaknesses. It also aims to sensitize the authorities working on fisheries management to the threat that corruption poses. And where corruption already has gained a foothold, the guide suggests ways to reduce its impact and develop safeguards to prevent its return.