Documenting the UK “Black Fish Scandal” as a case study of criminal entrepreneurship

Robert Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


– The purpose of this paper is to consider the industrial exploitation of fishing quotas as a case of organized criminal entrepreneurship. Seldom is consideration given to the existence of informal and criminal entrepreneurship within the fishing industry. Consequentially, this case charts the “Black Fish Scandal” in the UK which saw the flouting of regulations and quotas on a commercial scale netting the protagonists £63 million through the illegal landing of undeclared fish.

– The case study underpinning this paper is constructed using documentary research techniques.

– Entrepreneurship can be destructive in a Baumolian sense as well as being productive. The moral of the story is that the entrepreneurs involved in the scandal are primarily small businessmen and not organized criminals; and that lessons can be learned from this case on how knowledge of entrepreneurship can be used to ensure that entrepreneurs and businessmen are not tempted to stray into the commission of economic crime.

Research limitations/implications
– A limitation of the study is that it was constructed solely from media reports of the scandal. The implications of this study are widespread for politicians, local government, policy makers and academic researchers alike and highlight the rise and fall of an industry and the impact of “laissez-faire” entrepreneurship on the industry suggesting to politicians, local government, policy makers that there needs to be a more planned approach to encouraging entrepreneurship within such coastal communities.

– This case based empirical study is of value because it is one of the first known UK studies of the Black Fish Scandal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-221
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • entrepreneurship
  • business ethics
  • criminal entrepreneurship
  • illegal fishing


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