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
27 September 2017

INTERPOL meeting targets fisheries crime through international response

04 May 2017

INTERPOL warning on human trafficking links to the fishing industry

02 March 2017

Anti-wildlife trafficking operation results in global arrests and seizures

20 January 2017

INTERPOL launches new project targeting African-Asian wildlife crime links

20 May 2016

Targeting organized crime networks behind illegal fishing focus of INTERPOL meeting

18 March 2016

Spanish operation nets suspects behind illegal fishing

06 November 2015

INTERPOL’s role in combating illegal fishing recognized

13 October 2015

INTERPOL-supported illegal fishing investigations lead to prosecution

03 March 2015

INTERPOL encourages global action on World Wildlife Day

15 January 2015

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

05 December 2014

Fisheries crime investigations supported by INTERPOL training

02 June 2014

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

23 May 2014

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

22 January 2014

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

05 December 2013

Countries unite to identify illegal fishing vessel via INTERPOL

06 November 2013

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

06 September 2013

Norway requests first INTERPOL notice for illegal fishing

11 July 2013

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

05 June 2013

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

26 February 2013

INTERPOL launches Project Scale to combat fisheries crime