The Black Fish is an international organisation that works to end illegal overfishing. Our approach brings together people and the benefits of modern technology to protect the oceans through enforcement of environmental regulations. The Black Fish currently runs 28 projects in 12 countries around Europe, with an international team of 30 staff, countless volunteers and supporters around the world.

Putting citizens in charge

The Black Fish puts ordinary citizens at the heart of monitoring and reporting on illegal fishing. Through our citizen-led enforcement programmes we are affecting large-scale independent monitoring of Europe’s fishing grounds from land, air and sea. The Citizen Inspector Network trains volunteers to become actively involved in port inspections and coastal patrols. Our affiliation with the Wildlife Air Service enables us to involve the aviation community in realising cost-effective patrol flights. Similarly, the Sea Ranger Service enables us to directly cooperate with an enforcement service which operates a series of patrol vessels to track illegal fishing activities at sea.

Making the evidence work

The evidence we collect serves a number of purposes. We use it in partnership with colleague organisations to affect changes on a policy level, pressuring politicians to act for better ocean protection. Where possible, evidence is used in direct cooperation with authorities, resulting in confiscations of fishing gear or to kick-start new official investigations. The Black Fish will initiate prosecution itself where official authorities fail to act. At a United Nations level, The Black Fish works to get illegal fishing recognised as a type of organised crime, ensuring it is taken seriously as a security issue, rather than a mere conservation concern.

Thinking outside the box

Innovation is key in our aim to develop new ways to tackle complex issues. We take risks in trying new conservation methods that aren’t (yet) proven to work. We operate drones, are in the process of developing apps and software and are currently devising clever ways to effectively analyse the evidence we collect on illegal fishing practices. A variety of other technologies are being tested during our undercover investigations.

It’s all about people

We are a community, with people from all walks of life joining our conservation effort. We run speaking tours and public events to connect with people directly and offer many volunteering opportunities. We are big on supporting personal development by offering training and support to give individuals the skills and confidence they need to be actively involved in marine conservation.

Caring for our community

As an organisation we make a strong commitment to care for our community. We work to ensure an accessible and inspiring work environment in which volunteers and staff feel ownership over the work areas they are involved in. We like people to take initiative, push for individual empowerment, award excellence and are big on equality and diversity. The Black Fish is also unique in that it is very supportive of new ideas and projects to develop as offshoots. Although we have an office in Amsterdam, everyone at The Black Fish is free to live and work wherever they wish. Furthermore, we are big on financial transparency, running cost-effective operations and always communicating clearly and honestly towards our staff, volunteers and supporters.

At your service!

Do you have a question or suggestion? We are here for you. We are online and near the phones most days. You can email us at or call us directly at +31 20 486 5209. You can also follow us on Twitter @theblackfishorg and Facebook. Post can be sent to The Black Fish, Postbus 3329, 1001 AC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.