Project Scale is an INTERPOL project to support member countries in identifying, deterring and disrupting transnational 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 the first meeting of the INTERPOL Fisheries Crime Working Group.

Project Scale is supported by the Government of Norway, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the United States Department of State.

The issue

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.

Fisheries crime undermines the sustainability of marine living resources and threatens food security and the economic, social and political stability of coastal states which rely on sustainable fisheries for their source of revenue.

The response

In its activities, INTERPOL looks at all types of illegality and criminality which facilitate or accompany illegal fishing activities but reach beyond the traditional definition of illegal fishing. These associated criminal activities may include fraud, avoidance of taxes and handling of stolen goods, corruption, money laundering, document falsification, drug trafficking and human trafficking.

Aims of Project Scale

  • Raise awareness regarding fisheries crime and its consequences;
  • Support institutionalized cooperation between national agencies and international partners, such as through the establishment of National and Regional Environmental Security Task Forces (NESTs and RESTs);
  • Assess the needs of vulnerable member countries to effectively address fisheries crimes;
  • Facilitate regional and international 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 and support its two projects on intelligence and on capacity building and advocacy;
  • Create a case study on fisheries crime in West Africa;
  • Enhance expertise and expand INTERPOL’s international marine enforcement network;
  • Provide expert recommendations on fisheries-related environmental law compliance and enforcement;
  • Provide case-specific investigative support through the deployment of specialized Investigative Support Teams and Incident Response Teams;
  • Support member countries in issuing international notices and alerts;
  • Facilitate region- or commodity-specific operations tailored to the needs of member countries.
Project Scale - news
03 March 2015

INTERPOL encourages global action on World Wildlife Day

INTERPOL is backing World Wildlife Day as part of the Organization’s ongoing efforts to support law enforcement around the globe in promoting environmental security.With the theme ‘It's time to get serious about wildlife crime’, World Wildlife Day 2015 aims to raise awareness of the positive role which local communities can also play in helping curb this...
15 January 2015

New Zealand requests INTERPOL Purple Notices to identify networks behind illegal fishing

LYON, France – At the request of New Zealand, INTERPOL Purple Notices have been issued to seek information on the individuals and networks behind three vessels fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.The Purple Notices, which are used to seek or provide information on modi operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals, have been cir...
05 December 2014

Fisheries crime investigations supported by INTERPOL training

PANAMA, Panama – Enhancing the skills of fisheries crime investigators to better identify, deter and disrupt transnational criminal networks involved in illegal fishing activities and other criminality was the focus of an INTERPOL training workshop in Panama.In conjunction with the Organización del Sector Pesquero y Acuícola del Istmo Centroamericano (OSP...
02 June 2014

INTERPOL chief joint mission to Guinea Bissau with UN Special Representative for West Africa focuses on law enforcement capacity

BISSAU, Guinea Bissau – Identifying ways to support Guinea Bissau’s ongoing law enforcement capacity building efforts was the focus of INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble’s first mission to the country.The head of the world police body travelled to Bissau with Said Djinnit, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (SRSG) for W...
23 May 2014

Côte d’Ivoire hosts regional workshop on illegal fishing and crossover crimes

ABIDJAN, Cote d’Ivoire – The INTERPOL Regional Bureau for West Africa in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, has hosted the INTERPOL Workshop on Fisheries Crime in the West African Coastal Region. The two-day discussions (15-16 May) addressed current national and international initiatives in fisheries law enforcement, regional cooperation in the fisheries sector and...
22 January 2014

South Africa requests INTERPOL Notices for vessels suspected of illegal fishing and crew abuse

LYON, France – South Africa has requested INTERPOL Purple Notices in order to locate two vessels whose operators are suspected of illegal fishing and of subjecting their crews to labour and human rights abuses.The two fishing vessels, Samudera Pasific No 8 and Berkat Menjala No 23, were among a fleet of 10 arrested by the South African Department of Agric...
05 December 2013

Countries unite to identify illegal fishing vessel via INTERPOL

LYON, France – A joint effort by New Zealand, Australia and Norway to find a vessel suspected of illegal fishing has led to the publication of an INTERPOL Purple Notice to assist in identifying its location.Circulated to all 190 INTERPOL member countries the Notice, requested by New Zealand supported by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)...
06 November 2013

Costa Rica uses INTERPOL Purple Notice to warn about illegal shark finning

LYON, France – An alert for a method of shark finning aimed at avoiding detection of illegal practices has been circulated to all 190 INTERPOL member countries after a case was identified by Costa Rican authorities.An INTERPOL Purple Notice has been circulated for a modus operandi of the technique where only a band of skin to keep the fin attached to the...
06 September 2013

Norway requests first INTERPOL notice for illegal fishing

LYON, France – Close cooperation between INTERPOL and Norway has led to the publication of the first Purple Notice for a vessel believed to be engaged in illegal fishing activities.Issued to law enforcement in all 190 INTERPOL member countries, the Purple Notice seeks information on the fishing vessel “Snake”, which has changed its name and registration m...
11 July 2013

Responding to fisheries crime in Southern and Eastern Africa focus of INTERPOL meeting

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – The strategic use of INTERPOL’s global tools and services was the focus of the 2nd Regional Consultation on Fisheries Crime, targeting Southern and Eastern Africa.Organized under the auspices of INTERPOL’s Project Scale and in close collaboration with the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), rep...
05 June 2013

Celebrating World Environment Day – INTERPOL calls for greater international cooperation on environment security

LYON, France – Celebrated around the globe every 5 June, World Environment Day serves as a reminder to take positive action to preserve and protect the world’s environment, biodiversity and natural resources from the damage caused by degradation, misuse, exploitation and crime.Recognizing that a majority of international security issues are linked in one...
26 February 2013

INTERPOL launches Project Scale to combat fisheries crime

LYON, France – INTERPOL has launched Project Scale, a global initiative to detect, suppress and combat fisheries crime which is estimated to cost the global economy up to USD 23 billion each year and is linked to other forms of serious transnational crime including corruption, money laundering, fraud, human and drugs trafficking.Funded by the Norwegian Mi...