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Chasing Red Herrings

Flags of Convenience, Secrecy and the Impact on Fisheries Crime Law Enforcement

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Secrecy, or the ability to keep ones identity hidden behind a corporate veil, is a key facilitator of fisheries crime, includingtax crime and other ancillary crimes in the fisheries sector. Secrecy means that investigators “don’t know what they don’t know” and is a fundamental challenge to fisheries crime law enforcement. The focus of this report is the jurisdictions that facilitate secrecy in fisheries, the flags of convenience, and particularly those that are contracted out to private companies, the so-called private flags, and the impact flags of convenience and secrecy has on effective fisheries crime law enforcement. The report is the result of the joint effort of the INTERPOL Fisheries Crime Working Group (FCWG) and the North Atlantic Fisheries Intelligence Group (NA-FIG), with the input and support of the Secretariats at INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. It was made possible with the financial support of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

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Forewords

As the Minister of Fisheries of Norway and as representative of the Norwegian chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers, I believe that this report is both timely and important. The Nordic fishing industry, as in many other parts of the world, is globalized and dependent on competing in a fair global market. To achieve this for fish products there is a need for openness and transparency.

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