Project Scale is an INTERPOL initiative to detect, suppress and combat fisheries crime.
The project was launched during the 1st INTERPOL International Fisheries Enforcement Conference on 26 February 2013 at the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon, France.
The Conference was followed by a two-day meeting of the INTERPOL Fisheries Crime Working Group on 27 and 28 February 2013, which marked the beginning of the permanent Fisheries Crime Working Group.
World fish stocks are being rapidly depleted, and valuable species are nearing extinction. Because fish are a valuable commodity, the last decade has seen an escalation of transnational and organized criminal networks engaged in fisheries crime.
- Undermines resource conservation;
- Threatens food security and livelihoods;
- Destabilizes vulnerable coastal regions due to limited law enforcement capabilities and corruption;
- Is linked to other serious crimes including money laundering, fraud, human trafficking and drug trafficking.
Many countries operate in violation of fisheries laws. Among the illegal activities carried out are the harvesting of prohibited species, and fishing out-of-season, over the set quota or without a license.
In order to combat fisheries crime, tools need to be introduced at a national and international level to prevent illegal fishing operators from benefiting economically from these activities.
INTERPOL encourages local, national and international wildlife and fisheries authorities to implement effective management strategies aimed at preserving natural resources.
Aims of Project Scale
- Raise awareness regarding fisheries crime and its consequences;
- Establish National Environment Security Task Forces (NESTs) to ensure institutionalized cooperation between national agencies and international partners;
- Assess the needs of vulnerable member countries to effectively combat fisheries crimes;
- Conduct operations to suppress crime, disrupt trafficking routes, and ensure the enforcement of national legislation.
- Create a strategic plan for INTERPOL’s role in capacity building, information exchange and operational support;
- Develop the Fisheries Crime Working Group;
- Create a case study on fisheries crime in West Africa;
- Enhance expertise and expand INTERPOL’s international marine enforcement network;
- Provide expert recommendations on more effective and efficient fisheries-related environmental law compliance and enforcement;
- Conduct region- or commodity-specific operations tailored to the needs of vulnerable areas, such as the West African coastal region.
This is an ambitious, ongoing project continuously seeking support from individuals, organizations and institutions. If you are interested in supporting INTERPOL in protecting the natural resources of our oceans and seas, please contact us.