Dedicated to protecting the world’s five oceans.


Analyzing Purse Seine Ownership

Oceans 5 supports the leading conservation-oriented tuna industry trade association and the leading fisheries transparency organization to support a pilot program that would identify the beneficial owners of almost all tuna purse seine vessels operating throughout the world.

The world’s oceans are under immense pressure from both illegal and legal fishing fleets. Each year, the world loses an estimated 26 million tons of fish to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishermen, with devastating economic, political, and environmental consequences. Global enforcement agencies have struggled to police and regulate fishing activity in their jurisdictions, as the vastness of the oceans combines with unclear and inconsistent laws, lacking traceability, and lagging technology to create myriad loopholes in fishing regulations. This lack of transparency also affects downstream companies and retailers in the fishing industry, who increasingly struggle to map the origins of the fish they purchase from seafood exporters and other source companies. Furthermore, the ultimate beneficial owners of many fishing vessels sit behind multiple opaque layers of intermediary ownership. This both protects bad actors in the fishing sector from the negative consequences of illegal activity, and obfuscates the connections between both legal and IUU fishing fleets, the latter of which requires overlap with licit systems of trade, transport, and finance to “launder” and sell their fish.

C4ADS, with the support of Oceans5, intends to increase transparency in the fisheries sector, particularly in regards to purse seiner and reefer fleets. In collaboration with NGO and industry partners, C4ADS will map the ownership of the world’s large-scale purse seine fleet, in addition to a number of reefer fleets. Using open source data, C4ADS will then conduct corporate network analysis on each ownership company to build out ultimate beneficial ownership and identify overlapping control structures between seemingly disparate vessel fleets. This information will be made available in useable formats to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and Global Fishing Watch (GFW) to encourage widespread public dissemination to industry actors, regulators, and fisheries management organizations.