Illegal fishing has 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 this seafood is caught and processed is often uncertain. A recent World Resources Institute study estimates that half of illegal marine trading networks come from the Pacific, totaling between 3.7 and 7.2 million tons of fish stolen from fishermen and coastal nations.
This policy lab confronts the global environmental, human rights and privacy 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 and forced labor and slavery to locate leverage points and explore innovative solutions, including how new technologies might be developed and deployed. The research contributes to a pilot project — The Friends of Ocean Action – led by World Economic Forum leaders who are exploring the nexus of international laws and policies, together with national implementation and enforcement mechanisms, related to governance of the oceans. Effective governance includes cooperation among nations, international seafood companies, nonprofit organizations, and the containment of rogue actors.
The Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions serves as the policy client and will connect students with such partners as UN-sanctioned working groups, large seafood companies, and human rights and environmental NGOs. Students will produce policy briefs that will contribute to a comprehensive public report by the Center for Ocean Solutions. The Practicum will target using forums such as the upcoming UN Ocean Conference and UN Ocean Day as a platform to share student results. The practicum seeks law students and graduate and well-qualified undergraduates in such programs as earth systems, computer science, product design, public policy, sociology, human rights, and marine biology.