Truth has no borders, truth has no time limit, and truth should not result in death
Once in a great while, a person comes along who makes big and lasting changes in the world – by putting the well-being of other people over their own health and security. Jóhannes Stefánsson is such a person.
In 2019 Jóhannes exposed one of the largest illegal fishing scams in history. The blockbuster case became known as Fishrot. Indeed, what Jóhannes revealed was the putrid underbelly of this secretive industry. Jóhannes’ courage to speak up has led to the arrests of top-ranking politicians and business figures in Namibia, a major shake-up at Iceland’s largest fishing company, and criminal investigations in at least 27 countries.
As the massive size of this globe-spanning crime web becomes known, the likelihood increases that fish you have eaten may have been caught as a result of bribes, money laundering and racketeering.
Jóhannes' disclosure rocked the global fishing industry, but his pursuit of truth and justice has come at an extremely high price. One day in early 2017, Jóhannes was staying in Cape Town when he collapsed to the floor in agony – his body shaking uncontrollably from a wave of seizures. The fight for his life had begun.
Today he continues to live with pain, weakness and fatigue. His condition is worsening. Doctors in his home country of Iceland suspect he was poisoned. Unfortunately Iceland lacks the state-of-the-art facilities necessary to identify the toxin and treat Jóhannes’ illness. He needs international help.
(Read the media notice about our international campaign.)
Imagine waking up every morning for four years with mysterious physical symptoms – wondering if a hidden poison that your own doctors cannot detect is slowly destroying your body from the inside. This has been Jóhannes’ life for the past four years. The funds you donate will help him secure transportation, lodging, and medical testing, diagnosis and treatment abroad. This will give him and his family the answers and the peace they deserve.
Like a modern-day Daniel Ellsberg, Jóhannes walked out of his office with rock-solid proof of crimes. Memos, e-mails, PowerPoint presentations, financial records, photos and videos proved that Samherji, Iceland’s largest fishing company, had paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure lucrative fishing rights in Namibia, where Jóhannes served as the company’s director. His strong moral compass would not allow him to silently watch while Namibia was plundered for its natural resources.
Jóhannes Stefánsson continues to assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting these crimes. The scandal has compelled a major rethink about how to police one of the world’s most precious natural resources and food supplies. New disclosures come to light daily. Jóhannes is a hero who is persevering in the face of grave danger.
100% of your donations will be delivered immediately to Jóhannes Stefánsson. Because GoFundMe does not operate in Iceland, an international coalition of whistleblower, anti-corruption and independent media organizations is organizing this effort on Jóhannes' behalf. These organizations include: Whistleblower Network News (Washington, DC), ANA LOGO (Kiel, Germany), Whistleblowing International (Berlin), the National Whistleblower Center (Washington, DC), and the European Center for Whistleblower Rights (Berlin). A sincere and heart-felt THANK YOU to all of these groups and their great staff, members and partners.
Read the media notice about our international campaign.
Read more about Jóhannes and the Fishrot case on Al Jazeera, OCCRP, Kveikur, and the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa. The Namibian produced one of many powerful videos about the case.