Focus on illegal fishing: Commission welcomes Project SCALE

Embargoed to 0001 CET 26th February 2013

The Global Ocean Commission welcomes the establishment of Project SCALE, the new INTERPOL initiative on fisheries crime.

Launched at INTERPOL headquarters in Lyon, France, Project SCALE will help authorities combat illegal activities estimated to be worth $10-23bn per year1, which have been linked to human rights abuses and the trafficking of drugs, arms and people2.

Project SCALE’s objectives include gathering data on fisheries crime, conducting operations against criminal activities, and helping authorities to establish national task forces.

‘In many parts of the world, measures to constrain overfishing are virtually certain to fail unless illegality is effectively tackled,’ said Global Ocean Commission Co-chair and former President of Costa Rica José María Figueres, a speaker at the launch event.

‘Curbing illegal fishing is a vital step towards restoring the ecological health of the global ocean, and so realising its full economic potential.

‘The Global Ocean Commission looks forward to further conversations with INTERPOL when Project SCALE is fully underway, so that the experiences gained can better inform the Commission’s report and recommendations.’

Launched on 12th February, the Global Ocean Commission is an independent group of senior political figures drawn from societies across the globe. Its focus is on the high seas, the areas that lie outside the jurisdiction of individual governments and that make up 45% of the Earth’s surface.

The Commission’s recommendations are due to be released early in 2014. They will consist of realistic and cost-effective proposals that can, if implemented, end high seas overfishing, stop the loss of habitat and biodiversity, improve monitoring and compliance, and build a system of governance fit for 21st Century challenges.


Notes to editors:

The Global Ocean Commission originated as an initiative of the Pew Environment Group, in partnership with Somerville College at the University of Oxford, Adessium Foundation and Oceans 5. It is supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Adessium Foundation and Oceans 5, but is independent of all. It is hosted by Somerville College.

The Commission is jointly chaired by José María Figueres, former President of Costa Rica; Trevor Manuel, Minister in the Presidency of South Africa; and David Miliband MP, former UK Foreign Secretary. Further details about the Commission can be found at

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Richard Black, Director of Communications: +44 7912

Nicky Gaskell: +44 20 7617 3787 or +44 7720

Ruth Chaloner, Communications Manager: +44 7553

Project SCALE is the latest initiative within INTERPOL’s Environmental Crime Programme, and is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. Its launch comes during the 1st INTERPOL International Fisheries Enforcement Conference. Further details about Project SCALE can be found at


  1. Agnew et al, Estimating the Worldwide Extent of Illegal Fishing, PLoS 2009 –
  2. UN Office on Drugs and Crime – Transnational Organized Crime in the Fishing Industry, 2011 –