Using US Whistleblower Laws to Fight Illegal Fishing and Marine Pollution and Fund MPAs by Stephen Kohn, Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center.


Rewards for whistleblowers – people who inform authorities when a law has been broken – have been extremely successful when effectively implemented.  Whistleblower rewards incentivize insiders to report information, and support law enforcement’s ability to detect crime that they might not otherwise uncover.  

There have been over 70 whistleblower cases dealing with marine pollution under the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS) in recent years – generally involving situation in which ships have illegally dumped oil somewhere in the world in violation of the MARPOL Protocol. Some of these cases have resulted in rewards of more than US $1 million to the whistleblowers under APPS’s whistleblower reward provision—which allows informants to receive up to 50% of the collected proceeds from a successful prosecution. The National Whistleblower Center (NWC) is now working to utilize whistleblower provisions in other laws aimed at protecting marine wildlife, such as the Endangered Species Act, Lacey Act, and Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act, to combat the catch, sale, and transport of protected species and fishing conducted in no-fishing areas. These laws contain underutilized reward provisions with great potential for improving detection and enforcement–but for the past 30 years they have not been implemented. The NWC launched the Global Wildlife Whistleblower Program to raise awareness of whistleblower reward provisions and provide assistance – including a safe, worldwide reporting system – to wildlife whistleblowers. This webinar will provide an overview of whistleblower reward laws relevant to marine practitioners, as well as resources to help wildlife and marine pollution whistleblowers. Learn more about how US whistleblowing laws could open up new financing streams for MPAs worldwide. Learn more about the National Whistleblower Center. Webinar co-sponsored by the EBM Tools Network (co-coordinated by NatureServe and OpenChannels.org) and MEAM.