Illegal fishing is a key driver of global overfishing, it threatens ecosystems, puts food security and regional stability at risk

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The Lacey Act and the Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act, among other laws, provide rewards for whistleblowers who come forward about wildlife crime, including illegal fishing operations, otherwise known as Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF).

Under the Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act, the Department of Commerce may “use appropriations for payment for information, rewards, or evidence” for “operations which [are] necessary for the detection and prosecution of violations of any laws administered by … the National Marine Fisheries Service relating to fish [and] wildlife.”

Further, the Lacey Act protects wildlife by imposing monetary penalties on individuals and companies for trafficking in fish, wildlife, and CITES-listed plants that were illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of U.S. law, or in interstate or foreign commerce in violation of U.S. or foreign law if within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. For example, IUU fishing, including in Marine Protected Areas (MPA), may be a violation of the Lacey Act. The Lacey Act also makes it unlawful to import certain wildlife, fish, plants, and associated products into the U.S. without an import declaration. The Lacey Act also provides for whistleblower rewards based on the monies obtained by the federal government as a result of the whistleblower’s information. 

IUUF activities threaten the health of our oceans and our ability to protect fish populations from being destroyed. If you have information related to illegal fishing, please report now.

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