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.