How Flag States Can Help End Illegal Fishing

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Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for up to 26 million tons of fish each year, threatening the livelihoods of legal fishers by robbing them and their communities of the fish they need to survive. Combating IUU fishing requires comprehensive efforts by all States involved in this commercial activity: coastal, port, market, and flag.

A flag State is the country to which a vessel is registered; it acts as a vessel’s nationality and has exclusive jurisdiction over the ship’s administrative operations. With few exceptions, the sole entity responsible for policing a vessel is its flag State. Although governments have adopted policies to prevent IUU activity and stop illegally caught fish from entering the global seafood market, unscrupulous operators seek to register vessels in States with little oversight and enforcement of laws. Unless flag States meet their international obligations and enforce domestic policies, IUU fishing will continue.

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Fact Sheet

How to End Illegal Fishing: The Role of the Flag State

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Fact Sheet

How to End Illegal Fishing: The Role of the Flag State

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is one of the greatest threats today to marine ecosystems and ocean health. IUU fishing accounts for up to 26 million metric tons of fish annually and damages the livelihoods of legal fishers, including by robbing subsistence fishers and their communities of the fish they need to survive.