Interpol Study Finds Ties Between Organized Crime and IUU Fishing

Seized dried shark fins, Hong Kong (file image)

Published Dec 13, 2020 1:49 PM by Ankur Kundu

Interpol reports that fish and other sea creatures are far from being the only victims of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU). The International Criminal Police Organization, commonly known as Interpol, is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control. Citing close links between money laundering, corruption, and forgery, Interpol said that illegal fishing is often associated with these crimes in one way or another to maximize profit.

Illegal fishing accounts for a staggering 20 percent of the world’s catch, with rare catches fetching large amounts for those involved. Comparing illegal fishing to drug smuggling, Interpol said in its report, “one kilo of Totoaba fish bladder is worth more than 1 kg of cocaine on illegal Asian markets."

The Totoaba is a highly endangered species found only in the Gulf of Mexico. It is caught for its swim bladders, which are smuggled to China or other South Asian markets for sale on the black market. The demand for Totoaba is driven by its use as a business gift, investment, or wedding dowry, as well as its supposed medicinal benefits, according to The Guardian. The price for a sole endangered Totoaba fish bladder can go up to $50,000.

IUU fishermen in all regions are bent on maximizing profits from lucrative catches. Interpol reports th....

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