fishing boats on the ocean horizon at sunset

Project

Ending Illegal Fishing Project

Ending Illegal Fishing Project
Illegal fishing is a major threat to the sustainability of the world’s fisheries, accounting for up to 20 percent of all wild marine fish caught—up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood—according to a landmark study.

IUU fishing can include failing to report catch, using illegal gear, fishing without licenses, and even painting new names on vessels while at sea to avoid detection by authorities. This activity cheats coastal communities out of food and income, skews scientific stock assessments, undermines law-abiding fishers, and deceives consumers who trust that the fish they purchase was caught within the law.

The global seafood industry supports millions of jobs and feeds billions of people, but pressure on fish stocks is at an all-time high. Allowing illegal fishing to continue could have dire consequences for the health of the ocean, and all who depend on sustainable fisheries.

Pew is focused on building a global system to combat illegal fishing by working with governments, fisheries management bodies, enforcement authorities, and the seafood industry to adopt and implement the right regulations, policies, and tools to improve information sharing, monitor activity, and deter and prosecute illicit operators.

Project Goals
  • Make vessels and their locations easily identifiable
  • Close avenues to illegal catch
  • Engage and align the seafood industry
  • Assess compliance with international instruments
  • Boost policing abilities through regional pilot projects
  • Leverage technology and fisheries intelligence
  • Assess the role of transshipment
  • Develop new techniques to measure IUU fishing’s global impact
Illegal fishing

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Our Work

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Trust Magazine Summer 2017

How the Infamous Kunlun Fishing Ship Met Its Demise

Pew helped Interpol create a network for sharing information among nations fighting illegal fishing—and halted a ship’s infamous career. Read more in the most recent issue of Trust magazine.

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How the Infamous Kunlun Fishing Ship Met Its Demise

Pew helped Interpol create a network for sharing information among nations fighting illegal fishing—and halted a ship’s infamous career. Read more in the most recent issue of Trust magazine.

Learn More
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Meet the Team

Learn about Pew's staff working to combat illegal fishing.

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Meet the Team

Learn about Pew's staff working to combat illegal fishing.

Learn More
A dock worker in Port Victoria, Seychelles, enters data on recently landed tuna catch.
A dock worker in Port Victoria, Seychelles, enters data on recently landed tuna catch.
Article

Port State Measures

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Article

Can one international treaty help reverse years of rampant and widespread disregard for fisheries laws and policies? We believe the answer is yes, but a treaty is only as good as the parties that ratify and enforce it.

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How Innovation Can Fight Environmental Crime 

What's the key to combating ivory trade, illegal fishing, and other environmental crimes? Interpol's David Higgins says global monitoring and high-tech tools can help, in Trend magazine. 

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How Innovation Can Fight Environmental Crime 

What's the key to combating ivory trade, illegal fishing, and other environmental crimes? Interpol's David Higgins says global monitoring and high-tech tools can help, in Trend magazine. 

Read essay