The Outlaw Ocean

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Illegal fishing and forced labor aboard fishing vessels have long plagued the world’s oceans, undermining economic development, national security, food security, and human rights – and nowhere is this more starkly evident than in the Pacific. From cans of tuna to shrimp cocktail, the legality of how seafood is caught and processed is often uncertain.

This policy lab confronts the global environmental and human rights challenges associated with the existing framework of international laws and policies. The research delves into international laws that apply to the high seas, illegal fishing, supply chains, forced labor and human rights abuses to locate leverage points and explore innovative solutions, including how new technologies might be developed and deployed. The research contributes to a work of The Friends of Ocean Action – convened by the World Economic Forum – a coalition of public sector, private sector, and civil society leaders who are committed to accelerating action for sustainability. Solutions require cooperation among nations, international seafood companies, and nonprofit organizations, and the containment of rogue actors.

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