FISH-i Africa investigations reveal corruption as a facilitator of IUU fishing

By Stop Illegal Fishing:27th May, 2021: FISH-i Africa

A new study from Stop Illegal Fishing, published by the U4 Anti-corruption Resource Centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, ‘Corruption as a facilitator of illegal fishing: Insights from East Africa’, demonstrates that industrial illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in East Africa it is often facilitated by corruption.

Corruption, defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, when occurring in connection with fishing, or the wider fishery value chain or fishery sector, is considered a fisheries crime. Corruption threatens the effectiveness of regulatory frameworks governing fisheries resources, and therefore facilitates IUU fishing. The fishery sector has specific characteristics that make it vulnerable to corruption; these include the global transnational nature of the industry and the lack of transparency within it, and the scarcity of fisheries resources.

Drawing from analysis and research into 20 published FISH-i Africa investigations, the report aims to encourage discussion and awareness about corruption from a monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) perspective. Ten of the investigations were identified by SIF as having an indication that corruption linked to the IUU fishing may have taken place. A total of 22 possible incidents of corruption were identified within the ten investigations.

Sandy Davies of Stop Illegal Fishing commented ‘While FISH-i Africa investigations are mainly concerned with IUU fishing, we regularly came across information suggesting that corruption is closely intertwined with the fisheries illegality and crime. The wealth of information accumulated through the investigations, over many years, provided us with the material needed to make a more in-depth analysis into where, why, and by whom corruption was suspected to have occurred. This insight enabled us to propose anticorruption activities that we hope will both reduce the occurrence of fisheries corruption and, likewise, the occurrence of IUU fishing.”

Approaches that may disrupt corruption in fisheries include strengthening on-the ground anti-corruption capacity; fostering national interagency cooperation and increasing international cooperation; improving oversight of fishery agents; and supporting regional monitoring, control and surveillance centres and task forces.

Addressing corruption in fisheries in the South West Indian Ocean and East Africa is a key step towards reducing illegal fishing, and thus assisting coastal states to achieve SDG Targets 14.4 and 14.7 to eliminate IUU fishing and develop blue economic growth.

‘Corruption as a facilitator of illegal fishing: Insights from East Africa’ is available to view on the U4 webiste or to download in English and French.

U4 is a team of anti-corruption advisers working to share research and evidence to help international development actors get sustainable results. The work involves dialogue, publications, online training, workshops, helpdesk, and innovation. U4 is a permanent centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Norway. CMI is a non-profit, multi-disciplinary research institute with social scientists specialising in development studies.

 

 

 

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