Fisheries crime is a global challenge to the sustainability of the marine resources. Despite Norway?s internationally recognized fisheries management regime, violations still occur, e.g. unreported fishing and sale of illegal fish. However, the knowledge on the scope and characteristics of the problem, as well as the different reasons for non-compliance, is incomplete.
The main questions raised in the JustFish project are how and why actors in the fishing industry do not follow rules and regulations. It is a recognized challenge in Norway that authorised fishers and fish buyers abuse their exclusive access to the resource by adding unregistered fish into the production. The drivers behind these illegal fishing activities are many and can relate to extensive and complex regulations, market and competition issues, limited control and ample opportunities, but also more fundamental driving forces like attitudes and norms. By examining the different drivers behind illegal acts related to harvest and trade, we will identify reasons and justifications for different infringements. Based on this, regulatory shortcomings will be identified and how regulatory institutions and technologies render illegal activities possible will be revealed. The project will also study the sanction system to attain knowledge about how different kinds of sanctions can be used to achieve more effective resource control.
The work has so far involved gathering and synthesizing background material and adapting the theoretical framework to the Norwegian case of fisheries crime. Project meeting has been taken place online, but a planned reference group meeting in Tromsø was postponed to January 2022. Despite this, the project is progressing as planned and hopefully it will be possible to start data collection next spring.
Fisheries crime is a global challenge to the sustainability of the marine resources. Despite Norway’s internationally recognized fisheries management regime, violations still occur, e.g. unreported fishing and trading of illegal fish. However, the knowledge on the scope and characteristics of the problem, as well as the different reasons behind non-compliance, is partial and incomplete.
JustFish aims to reduce this knowledge gap and discuss methods and technologies for improving the Norwegian fisheries resource control and reduce the extent of illegal activities. By examining the drivers behind illegal acts related to harvest and trade, and how regulatory institutions and technologies render illegal activities possible, we will identify regulatory shortcomings. This insight will be directly applicable to the Norwegian authorities when developing new technologies and methods for reducing illegal fishing activities. The knowledge about risks and potential preventive measures in a well-regulated fishery as in Norway will also be highly relevant for other countries facing similar challenges.
JustFish will apply an interdisciplinary approach, combining policy and legal analysis with criminology. This novel approach to analysing drivers for and preventive measures against illegalities will advance the understanding of the problem. To ensure relevance, industry organizations are partners, and the reference group consists of government agencies and industry associations. A PhD position will strengthen recruitment and develop needed research competence in this field. Thus, JustFish establishes new research networks at national and international level, between different scholarly disciplines and between researchers and industry actors. JustFish presents a novel possibility for theory generation, enhancing social scientific analytical approaches, and informing preventive strategies and future policy on fisheries crime at a national and international level.