Today marks the start of the third Our Ocean conference hosted by Secretary of State John F. Kerry.  The conference, which is being held in Washington, DC from September 15-16, 2016, will focus on marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, and marine pollution, among other pressing concerns.

As Secretary Kerry acknowledged, “The richness and diversity of our marine resources are being decimated by reckless and illicit fishing practices.” Under Secretary of State Catherine Novelli stressed the importance of using technology to improve enforcement efforts at ports, noting that, “…[with robust enforcement] it becomes much more difficult to actually make a living selling illegally caught fish and that’s going to deter people from illegal fishing.”

The Our Ocean conference follows on the heels of USAID announcing the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge Winners:  The Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, an initiative of USAID in partnership with the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institution, and TRAFFIC, was intended to find new, innovative solutions to the most intractable issues in the fight against wildlife trafficking—including both terrestrial and marine wildlife trafficking, as well as illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) was selected as a Grand Prize Winner on September 1, 2016.

NWC’s Grand Prize-Winning solution, the Secure Internet Wildlife Crime Reporting System, is a secure online platform, a one-stop shop through which whistleblowers can safely and anonymously file reports of wildlife crimes and gain useful information about how wildlife whistleblower laws work.  One goal of NWC’s Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program is to promote the sustainability of oceans and marine life by fighting against depleted fish stocks and declines in iconic species. This will fit directly into Under Secretary Novelli’s vision for improved enforcement efforts at the ports. By encouraging insiders to come forward with reports of illegal poaching, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and other wildlife crimes, the NWC hopes to leverage the power of whistleblowers to preserve one of nature’s most unique ecosystems.

Follow The National Whistleblower Center on Twitter @StopFraud as we tweet about the Our Ocean conference throughout the day!

Learn More: