One of the most important and effective tools to uncover and prevent marine pollution is the U.S. Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (“APPS”), which allows a whistleblower, whether a U.S. citizen or a foreign national, that gives information on marine pollution to collect up to half of any fine collected upon successful conviction. Another important tool used to protect marine areas and related wildlife is the Lacey Act, which imposes monetary penalties on individuals and companies for trafficking in certain fish, wildlife, and plants that were illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of U.S. law, including through IUU fishing. The Lacey Act also provides for whistleblower rewards based on the monies obtained by the federal government as a result of the whistleblower’s information.
The National Whistleblower Center (“NWC”) works with whistleblowers who report potential violations of APPS and wildlife laws such as the Lacey Act through operation of the National Whistleblower Legal Defense and Education Fund (“NWLDEF”), which reviews confidential whistleblower reports and provides an Attorney Referral Service. NWC is a U.S. non-partisan, nonprofit organization that has worked for over thirty years to promote whistleblower rights and protections through litigation, legislative advocacy, and public education. NWC was a grand prize winner in the Wildlife Crime Tech Challenge, which was a USAID initiative in partnership with National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, and TRAFFIC.
NWC’s secure and confidential reporting system allows whistleblowers to disclose potential wrongdoing or retaliation to staff attorneys at NWLDEF, who will review your claim respond with advice on how to proceed if you provide your contact information. The Attorney Referral Service connects whistleblowers in search of competent counsel to attorneys that handle whistleblower cases across the nation. NWLDEF reviews intake forms and attempts to provide a referral to an attorney with expertise in the issues you have disclosed and/or with offices close to your home. Although neither NWLDEF nor NWLDEF’s staff attorneys represent you unless you have signed a formal written representation agreement, all communications with NWLDEF are confidential under the attorney-client privilege.
If you are a whistleblower and wish to disclose potential wrongdoing or retaliation, you can submit a free, confidential report here. If you are a whistleblower and wish to be referred to an outside attorney through the Referral Service, you can submit a free, confidential intake form here.