Ending Illegal Fishing 2016: Efforts Build on Earlier Gains

Work continues on multiple fronts around the globe

Illegal FishingCorey Arnold

Fishing vessels docked at harbor in the Netherlands.

In the fight to stop illegal fishing in the world’s oceans, 2016 is shaping up to be a pivotal year. The Pew Charitable Trusts’ ending illegal fishing project and its partners have seen significant successes in recent years. And although there are challenges ahead, there is the potential for true gains—from wider use of unique permanent identification numbers to track fishing vessels to the enactment of new international rules meant to keep illicit catch from entering the market. The momentum for efforts to counter illegal fishing—as well as other associated crimes—is steadily building.

Last year proved to be one of the most productive to date. As we push into 2016, it’s important to remember what is at stake: the health of fish populations and marine ecosystems worldwide, as well as the livelihoods and food security of millions of coastal residents. Here is a look at five key areas of our work, the progress made in 2015, and what we expect this year.

Vessel Identification

Ever Closer to a Foolproof System

IMO numbers provide vital details that can help pinpoint illegal activity.

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Port State Measures Agreement

Stopping Illegally Caught Fish at Ports

Agreement will help countries thwart "port shopping" by illegal fishers.

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Interpol Is Helping To Curb Illegal Fishing

Project Scale provides a way for countries to tackle fisheries crimes.

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Vessel Tracking

Satellites Helping Catch Bad Actors

Data ensures vessels are properly transmitting their positions.

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Follow Leaders to Stop Illegal Fishing

EU leaders continue to use their successful red and yellow card system.

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Kimberly Vosburgh