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Combating Global Fisheries Crime

Norway has launched the Blue Justice initiative to help developing countries to combat illegal fishing and other forms of fisheries crime.

Blue Justice aims to curb fisheries crime.

Photo: ESA

Fisheries crime is robbing communities of their wealth and creates poverty and worker exploitation. It is organised crime that threatens the ecosystems and ocean sustainability.

The fight against illegal fishing is important for a maritime nation such as Norway. The Blue Justice initiative is set up to combat this, in cooperation with the United Nations Developing Programme (UNDP). 

Norway shares data from the Norwegian AISSat- and NorSat-satellites with other countries to overcome the problem.

This is done via the Norwegian Government's Blue Justice Ocean Surveillance Programme, and Blue Justice Community - an online platform associated with the BarentsWatch site.

Tracking Centre

In this program, member states can access satellite-based AIS information on ship traffic and maritime activity to detect illegal fishing. Members can also receive support from the international Blue Justice Tracking Center, established in Vardø in 2021.

The Norwegian satellites detect signals from the maritime anti-collision system AIS. It’s mandatory for ships over 300 gross tonnage to carry an AIS transponder, showing the ship's position, direction, speed and identification.

Thus, ship traffic can be monitored using satellites, and illegal fishing, and other criminal maritime activities, such as smuggling and border breaches, can be detected more easily. 

In 2023, more than 61 countries are part of the Blue Justice Ocean Surveillance Programme, representing a third of the world's coastal states.