Working to ensure a sustainable future for our oceans by combating illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing around the world.
Illegal fishing is a major threat to the sustainability of the world’s fisheries. Some estimates are that illegal and unreported fishing accounts for up to $23.5 billion worth of fish annually worldwide, and up to 20 percent of all of the wild marine fish caught globally. In some parts of the world, the situation is even more dire. For example, fisheries scientists estimate that illegal fishing accounts for up to 40 percent of fish caught in West Africa.
Pressure on the world’s fish stocks is at an all-time high. Fishing fleets utilize modern technology and massive vessels to fish in places that until recently were out of reach because they were too deep, remote, or dangerous to exploit.
Fleets now pursue and catch fish in virtually every part of the world’s ocean. Massive processing vessels—floating factories that process, freeze, and transport fish in huge quantities—allow fishing vessels to offload catch at sea and continue fishing with alarmingly little downtime. The result is what some call “the last buffalo hunt”—too many fishing vessels chasing a dwindling number of fish that have nowhere to hide.
Most industrial fishing operations act within the law, but some take to the seas fully intending to steal fish. They do this in various ways, including failing to report catch, using illegal fishing gear, fishing without licenses, and even painting new names on their vessels while at sea to avoid detection by authorities. And they do it wherever they think they can get away with it, both within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of coastal states and on the high seas. In many cases, the theft is made easy by patchwork regulation of fishing areas and weak enforcement at sea and in ports.
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On Jan. 14, the Republic of Korea joined the 18 other governments that have ratified the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), an international treaty designed to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Read More
Mauritius has ratified the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), the international treaty designed to prevent illegally caught fish from entering the market through legitimate fishing ports. An island nation in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius joins Seychelles, Gabon, Mozambique, and Somalia to become the fifth African nation to sign on to the agreement. More are expected to join the PSMA in the... Read More
A new study ranks the world’s top 100 ports by volume of commercial fish landed, providing another vital layer of knowledge for assessing fishing vessel activity at ports around the globe. The information fosters a better understanding of where what are known as Port State Measures can be most effective in deterring illegal fishing and preventing illicit catch from entering the market. Read More