Dr Emma Witbooi

Dr Emma Witbooi is a Director of the PescaDOLUS international research network on transnational organised fisheries crime, consults for the United Nations Drugs and Crime Office (UNODC) on organized crime in fisheries and is currently a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Nordic Representation Office's Blue Justice Initiative project.

She was a research fellow from 1 February 2014 to 31 January 2017. She has a Masters degree in Environmental Law from the University of Cape Town, focusing on South African subsistence fisheries, and a Doctorate in Marine and Environmental Law from University College London. Her doctoral thesis examined sustainability in marine fisheries relations between the EU and certain West African countries and was subsequently published as a monograph Fisheries and Sustainability: A Legal Analysis of EU and West African Agreements in 2012. She was a researcher and assistant lecturer at UCT during the years 1999-2003 and has returned to guest lecture in International Marine Living Resources law at Masters Level.

During her first year as a post-doctorate fellow, Emma conducted research into the fisheries crime approach in South Africa. She presented a paper titled "The fisheries crime paradigm: Towards a new approach to addressing illegal fishing" at the "AIM Strategy: Legal Challenges & Opportunities" Conference organised at NMMU on 13-14 November 2014 as well as a seminar presentation of the same title at the European Centre of Tort Law in Vienna (Austria) on 21 January 2015. Emma published  "Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing on the High Seas: The Port State Measures Agreement in Context" in (2014) 29 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law 290-320 and co-authored an article with Eve de Coning on the fisheries crime approach entitled "Towards a new 'fisheries crime' paradigm: South Africa as an illustrative example" in (2015) 60 Marine Policy 208-215. A further article, co-authored with Phil Snyman, "Law Enforcement responses facilitated by a fisheries crime approach: The South African example" was published in the Journal of Ocean Law and Governance in Africa in 2017.

She has since published the following:

Witbooi, E and S Singlee 'Trafficking of Persons and Forced Labour of Migrants in Fisheries: Law Enforcement Challenges in South Africa' Journal of Ocean Law and Governance in Africa. 2018. 1-51

Witbooi, E and  M Isaacs ‘Fisheries Crime, Food Security and Small-scale fisheries in South Africa: is it a Case of Bigger Fish to Fry?’ Special Section ‘Transnational Organised Fisheries Crime’ 2019 (105) Marine Policy 158-168

Witbooi E,  J Glazewski & P Vrancken ‘Introduction and Overview’  Special Section ‘Transnational Organised Fisheries Crime’ 2019 (105) Marine Policy 116-122 

Witbooi, E., K.-D. Ali, M.A. Santosa et al. 2020. Organised Crime in the Fisheries Sector. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute. https://oceanpanel.org/blue-papers/organised-crime-associated-fisheries.

Witbooi E and S Wood 'The Impact of Organized Crime in Fisheries Extends Far Beyond the Sea' WRI. August 17, 2020. https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/08/fisheries-organized-crime.

Witbooi, E, K- Ali, M A Santosa et al 'Organized Crime in the Fisheries Sector Threatens a Sustainable Ocean Economy' Nature Journal forthcoming.'


Last updated: 2020.08.20. A.A

Contact information
Dr Emma Witbooi
Research Associate