Title

Narco-Fish: Global fisheries and drug trafficking

Date of Publication

2020 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Transnational Organized Crime

Keywords

Drug trafficking, global fisheries, IUU fishing, money laundering, illicit arms trade, environmental crimes, illegal fishing, fishing vessels, maritime transnational drug trafficking, maritime drug trafficking

Description

"This study analyses drug trafficking associated with fisheries around the globe. Records of vessel interdiction carried out between 2010 and 2017 suggest that the global trade of illicit drugs relies increasingly on fishing vessels. Fishery-based trafficking is growing. A key obstacle to understanding the scope of this problem is the limited data on activities that are intentionally obscured, such as drug trafficking. Using a Fermi estimation technique for determining unknown values from limited data, we analyse 292 known cases of fishing boats engaged in drug shipment between 2010 and 2017. Results suggest that drug shipment sizes per vessel are becoming smaller over time, even as the total flow of drugs is increasing. Counter-drug enforcement intensifies this effect, suggesting that drug trafficking networks adapt to interdiction efforts making use of smaller vessels to lower the risk of seizure. The use of fishing vessels in drug trans-shipment has tripled over the past 8 years to about 15% of the global retail value of illicit drugs. Small-scale fishers are at risk of turning to drug trade as an economic buffer against poverty, especially in contexts of mounting competition over declining fish stocks or strict marine conservation. At the same time, illicit capital flowing from the narcotics trade into fisheries may be driving over-capitalization of fisheries and unsustainable resource use, ultimately to the detriment of resource-dependent coastal communities and marine ecosystems. Future research is needed to better understand whether and how small-scale fishermen turn to drug trade to counter livelihood risks of various kinds."

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Narco-Fish: Global fisheries and drug trafficking

"This study analyses drug trafficking associated with fisheries around the globe. Records of vessel interdiction carried out between 2010 and 2017 suggest that the global trade of illicit drugs relies increasingly on fishing vessels. Fishery-based trafficking is growing. A key obstacle to understanding the scope of this problem is the limited data on activities that are intentionally obscured, such as drug trafficking. Using a Fermi estimation technique for determining unknown values from limited data, we analyse 292 known cases of fishing boats engaged in drug shipment between 2010 and 2017. Results suggest that drug shipment sizes per vessel are becoming smaller over time, even as the total flow of drugs is increasing. Counter-drug enforcement intensifies this effect, suggesting that drug trafficking networks adapt to interdiction efforts making use of smaller vessels to lower the risk of seizure. The use of fishing vessels in drug trans-shipment has tripled over the past 8 years to about 15% of the global retail value of illicit drugs. Small-scale fishers are at risk of turning to drug trade as an economic buffer against poverty, especially in contexts of mounting competition over declining fish stocks or strict marine conservation. At the same time, illicit capital flowing from the narcotics trade into fisheries may be driving over-capitalization of fisheries and unsustainable resource use, ultimately to the detriment of resource-dependent coastal communities and marine ecosystems. Future research is needed to better understand whether and how small-scale fishermen turn to drug trade to counter livelihood risks of various kinds."