Oceans are a major source of oxygen for our planet. Fish and other marine resources provide a prominent source of food. Millions of people are employed in the fisheries sector worldwide.
This year’s theme for World Wildlife Day, “Life below Water: for People and Planet,” refers to the ways in which life below water plays a vital role in global food security, poverty alleviation and human prosperity — in sustaining life above water. In adopting Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the world committed itself to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”.
The fisheries sector, however, faces widespread illegality both on land and at sea, from corruption, fraud and money laundering to human trafficking and poaching of marine life. Fisheries crime has become a highly profitable form of transnational organized crime that is threatening the sustainable use of marine resources, with impacts on development and the global economy.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is fully engaged in supporting member states to confront the many serious offences committed along the fisheries value chain. UNODC works at the frontline with criminal justice institutions, fisheries authorities and other stakeholders to enhance criminal justice and law enforcement responses to fisheries crime, promote accountability for the sustainable use of marine resources and protect the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the globe.
On this important day, I encourage you to join hands with the international community in tackling these destructive crimes, to help sustain the vital life below water that sustains us.