UNODC’s approach to addressing crimes in the fisheries sector conceptualizes these crimes in two categories: first, crimes associated with the fisheries sector that have no direct connection with fishing operations but take place on fishing vessels, in fishing facilities or use fishing operations to commit or cover crimes. An example of crime associated with the fisheries sector would be the trafficking of firearms. Second, crimes in the fisheries value chain that are closely linked to fishing operations, although they are not “illegal fishing” per se. These crimes extend into the trade, ownership structures and financial services associated with the fishing sector—they are not only associated with the act of fishing. Such crimes include fraud and forgery, corruption, money-laundering, tax crimes, customs and fiscal fraud as well as trafficking in persons.
In addressing crimes in the fisheries value chain, the Environment Team bases its technical assistance on a value chain approach, which identifies the value chain stages (see simplified fisheries value chain below), agencies involved, and possible entry points for different types of crimes. The purpose of adopting a value chain approach is two-fold: firstly, it allows for the identification of the numerous points along the chain at which different types of criminal offences typically occur. Secondly, it allows for the highlighting of potential entry points for law enforcement interventions in identifying, investigating and prosecuting crime throughout the sector.
The Environment Team works closely with in-house partners including the Global Maritime Crime Programme, the Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, and the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme as well as with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to support Member States tackle crimes in the fisheries sector. An overview of the various areas of collaborative work is provided below.