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Heightened competition and considerable illegal fishing by commercial boats, suggest that incentives for corruption in African fisheries are high. Dependence on revenues and investments from foreign countries, as well as conflicts of interests, are two factors that may limit law enforcement and the effectiveness of marine inspections. Law enforcement and prosecutions may also be thwarted by bribe payments and the complicity of officials in crimes. The most effective and realistic way of countering corruption appears to be through strengthening transparency and accountability. African civil society has an important role to play in scrutinising fisheries access agreements, tracking court cases and monitoring government budgets.