Environmental Threats

Statistics and information about criminal threats to the environment. Illegal logging, illegal fishing, smuggling and other environmental destruction committed by organized crime is collected from wildlife charities and public information sources.

A 2005 report by the European Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) found that ” international trade in waste is rapidly increasing.”

The report mentions the financial profit involved in trash smuggling creates a ” strong incentive for those in the waste chain to avoid controls over the movement and treatment of waste. Financially, there are strong incentives for waste producers, brokers, carriers and others, to exploit any opportunity to avoid these controls.”

(Additional environmental crimes.)


In the European Union, law enforcement found that 48 percent of all waste and trash shipments were illegal.

(Environmental crime statistics.)


49 cases of hazardous waste and trash smuggling containing 8,000 tons of solid waste were uncovered by Chinese Custom officials in 2006.

(Additional crime in China data.)


Companies in the United States lose at least $460 million each year as world prices are depressed between 7 -16 percent by the availability of illegal logging products.

(Value of the world black market.)


1.5 million tonnes of timber worth $350 million was smuggled into China from Myanmar’s teak forests in 2006 from illegal logging activities.



In the Caspian Sea, a kilogram of caviar sells for $300 to $500 on the black market. It is then sold in Europe and the United States at a price worth 10 times as much.

(Additional black market fishing statistics.)


The Associated Press reported that “Russian crime gangs smuggle beluga caviar in suitcases, fetching $4,450 per kilogram in the retail market.”

(News about organized crime.)


An estimated 10 times more sturgeon is caught illegally than under officially regulated fishing.

(More about illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.)


Due to illegal fishing, up to $1.6 Billion of seafood enters the markets of Europe illegally each year.


The WWF believes that as much as 50 percent of the seafood sold in Europe is the product of illegal fishing.

(More about illegal seafood and fishing here.)