Opinion: Calling on Whistleblowers to Help Protect Our Oceans

sea-turtle-swimming-in-the-oceanWhistleblowers are our last line of defense to protect our oceans. As the “Our Ocean Conference 2018” (OOC 2018) is set to open tomorrow in Bali, Indonesia, the National Whistleblower Center (NWC) hopes to bring awareness about the important role whistleblowers can play in the detection of illegal fishing and marine pollution.

OOC 2018’s “Our Ocean, Our Legacy” theme emphasizes that the oceans hold the key to economic growth, food security resources, etc., and face many threats, including wildlife trafficking, illegal fishing and marine pollution. The conference, which focuses on issues such as marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, maritime security, runs through Tuesday, October 30.

Through its Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, the NWC seeks to address the sharp increase in illegal fisheries, wildlife trafficking and marine pollution, which is due in part to the low risk of detection. The NWC asserts that incentivizing whistleblowers is essential to increasing the detection of these crimes. Whistleblowers worldwide may be eligible for financial rewards, under applicable U.S. laws, for reporting violations of laws that protect ocean health and sustainability. In an effort to provide an avenue for whistleblowers to safely report these crimes, the NWC turned to technology and created a confidential and secure transnational online reporting platform to help protect our oceans and wildlife.

Paying rewards to those who come forward with information about illegal marine pollution and illegal fishing is key to protecting ocean health,” said Scott Hajost, Managing Director of the NWC’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program. “Protecting and incentivizing whistleblowers who report violations of ocean protection laws is critical to ensuring our legacy of ocean health and sustainability to future generations,” Hajost added.

Learn more about incentivizing whistleblowers: https://www.whistleblowers.org/wildlife

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The NWC’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program, was named a Grand Prize Winner of the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, an initiative of USAID in partnership with the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution and TRAFFIC.

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