New “Fishyleaks” website seeks to blow the whistle on EU overfishing

Published on
July 12, 2019

A new website launched by the NGO Our Fish aims to provide a confidential, anonymous and secure way for people working in the E.U. fishing industry, public authorities or other areas to report what they believe are improper, unethical or illegal fishing practices. 

“We created Fishyleaks to help those who want to share information with us, in a confidential, anonymous and secure manner,'' Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish program director, said. “Europe’s fisheries are a common resource, for the benefit of all citizens, that should be managed sustainably and legally to ensure the future of coastal communities, food security and ocean health in the face of the climate crisis. Fishyleaks aims to provide a platform for people who witness activity that undermines these important aspirations, so that they can share that information, while minimizing risk to themselves.”

Fishyleaks.eu provides examples of the kind of report that could prove useful to achieving legal and sustainable fisheries. The website asks whistleblowers whether they believe they have witnessed illegal or unethical activities, or witnessed improper practice at sea, such as illegal discarding or high-grading. 

“Our Fish often receives news of infringements, but lack the evidence to prove it. By receiving information via Fishyleaks, we hope to expose the problems in the sector, so that we can push for solutions,” she said

Our Fish plans to analyze the information received, and to verify content via Fishyleaks’ secure messaging system and checking with other sources. Reports may be shared with national fisheries authorities, national or E.U. parliaments, the E.U. Commission or other relevant authorities.

Fishyleaks’ website provides information on how potential whistleblowers can protect their security and identity, along with measures Our Fish has taken to ensure the anonymity of those seeking to send reports, and whistleblower resources in selected E.U. countries.

The website was created using the open source GlobaLeaks platform, which aims to enable secure and anonymous whistleblowing initiatives. 

Fishyleaks is currently published in English, with other language versions set to follow. In the meantime, people submitting reports via Fishyleaks are invited to do so information in the language they are most comfortable with, which Our Fish will translate. 

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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