Investigating The Shark Fin Industry

Sharks play a vital role in marine ecosystems, yet an increasing demand for their fins, meat, liver oil, and cartilage, their populations are being decimated. We have over two decades of experience at ground zero of the shark fin industry. Our work has achieved worldwide media coverage, and allowed us to form strong partnerships with key players in the shipping industries, law enforcement, customs agencies, and international cooperative and regulatory bodies. Our investigations have helped identify crime in the shark fin industry, and raise awareness about the global shark fin industry, thereby reducing demand for vital marine predator.

Investigating Transnational Wildlife Crime Through Shipping Channels

The fishing industry is transnational, and crime in this industry is equally transnational. Illegal goods crisscross the globe in complex ‘supply chains.’ While the routes that illegal wildlife products take and the modes by which they are transported vary, all of these shipments move products from point A to point B, with people and companies at both ends. This leaves a paper trail that we can investigate, searching for patterns and preferred routes, identifying instances of smuggling, fraud, and laundering. In better understanding these supply chains, we can use intelligence to keep one step ahead of wildlife criminals.  

OPERATION: REECON WOLF
Investigating IUU Fishing Operations

Illegal fishing can be difficult to detect, with criminals using a number of techniques to hide their illicit operations. These remote fishing fleets will often use refrigerated cargo ships (reefers) to collect illicit catches and resupply their vessels, allowing them to continue to poach in remote locations for long periods of time. Operation Reecon Wolf monitors the activities of known reefers, helping us to better understand large scale industrial fishing operations. When we identify potential illegal activities, we alert the appropriate authorities before the vessel can make port calls, thereby increasing the chances that an inspection will be undertaken.

Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is one of the greatest threats to life in our oceans.  It not only impacts wildlife, but also those who feed on it – namely us! We work to reduce the amount of plastic that enters our oceans each year by educating the general public on alternatives to plastic, as well as working with governments, companies and other stakeholders to not only clean up coastal areas affected, but to eradicate single use plastics from our daily lives.

TCM - The Silent Threat To Biodiversity?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses a wide range of plant and animal products, and has been around for centuries. Increasingly, its use of endangered and at-risk species is threatening biodiversity around the globe. Many of the species used in TCM, such as sea cucumbers, abalone, and sea stars, are less well-known as compared with more iconic marine animals. While less prominent, these animals are equally important to marine ecosystems. There is a very real risk that while conservationists focus on more charismatic species numerous marine species could be wiped out without widespread public knowledge. The Chinese Government has recently begun heavily promoting TCM, as a result, our investigations and research into sustainability and crime in the supply chains of animals used in TCM is critical.

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