Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a complex, systemic issue with impacts that resonate through global supply chains and can particularly harm those most vulnerable: the workers on fishing vessels. The millions of tons of fish stolen each year result in a huge loss to the economies of coastal nations and a threat to food security for the billion people who depend on fish for protein. Additionally, vessels that fish illegally often engage in labor abuses, including everything from substandard working conditions to modern slavery, prompting a human rights crisis.
Global seafood companies are mobilizing to remove illegal fishing practices from their supply chains. Similarly, labor rights organizations are investigating advanced technology tools and mechanisms that can enable them to eliminate labor abuses and forced labor on fishing vessels. Both actors face daunting challenges.
About the Course
The Outlaw Ocean Policy Practicum was born out of COS's work with the Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum on issues of illegal fishing and labor abuses in the seafood industry. Hosted by the COS and the Stanford Law School (SLS), Law & Policy Lab, this collaborative course represents an investment by COS and SLS in developing future ocean leaders. It brings together students from across Stanford University’s graduate and undergraduate programs to apply their multidisciplinary expertise in law, policy, ocean science, and management in a ten-week research experience.
The Outlaw Ocean Policy Practicum has been taught in Spring 2020 and Fall 2020. Both iterations of the course partnered with clients who work at different stages within and adjacent to seafood supply chains. The clients during the Spring 2020 course were Global Fishing Watch, COS, and the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice. The clients in Fall 2020 were Global Fishing Watch and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.
About the Report
The Outlaw Ocean Report is the culminating product of each iteration of The Outlaw Ocean course. The papers contained in the reports are the product of the students' work conducting background research, analyzing legal documents and international agreements, and interviewing a variety of experts and actors who approach these issues from many different perspectives. The report and its contents will serve as an important tool and resource for the clients of The Outlaw Ocean course, as well as for future iterations of the policy practicum.