Antarctic Fishery First to Require ID Numbers for All Fishing Vessels

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, or CCAMLR, took a major step Nov. 1 in battling illegal fishing by agreeing to require unique identification numbers on all vessels fishing in commission waters.

CCAMLR is the first regional marine management organization to require these ID numbers on all vessels fishing within its jurisdiction. The numbers are administered by the International Maritime Organization, or IMO. This mandate, once adopted by other fisheries management bodies, will greatly aid in the identification of fishing fleets worldwide and the ability to develop reliable lists of authorized and illegal vessels.

“CCAMLR's decision to require IMO numbers is highly commendable and shows real leadership in the effort to stop illicit fishing activity. It will significantly reduce the ability of unscrupulous operators to mask their vessel identities and thus will make it more difficult to fish illegally. The hope is now that other regional fisheries organizations will follow this lead,” said Tony Long, who directs The Pew Charitable Trusts' project to end illegal fishing.