fishing boats on the ocean horizon at sunset

Project

Ending Illegal Fishing 

Pressure on the world’s fish stocks is at an all-time high. Fishing fleets use modern technology and large vessels to fish in places that until recently were out of reach because they were too deep, remote, or dangerous to fish.

 And although many industrial fishing operations act within the law, some routinely disregard the rules. They do this in a variety of ways: failing to report their catches, using illegal gear, fishing without licenses, and even painting new names on fishing vessels while at sea to avoid detection by authorities.

This activity skews scientific stock assessments, undermines law-abiding fishers, and deceives consumers who trust that the fish they purchased was caught legally. Allowing illegal fishing to continue could have dire consequences for the health of the oceans, and for all who depend on it.  

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 international agreements and regulations, and form multi-State coalitions that will safeguard and protect their waters.

Watch and explore the story

Explore
Article

The Cape Town Agreement

Quick View
Article

The Cape Town Agreement

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing jeopardizes the health and sustainability of the world’s fisheries, undermines the livelihoods of law-abiding fishers, and is widely associated with crimes such as piracy, human trafficking, and arms and narcotics smuggling.

Data Visualization

Three Treaties to End Illegal Fishing

Quick View
Data Visualization

To support efforts to end illegal fishing, The Pew Charitable Trusts advocates for the harmonized implementation of three international agreements that seek to make it more difficult for unscrupulous operators to exploit gaps in national and regional fishing regulations.

Our Work

19x9 placeholder

Meet the Team

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

Learn More
Quick View

Meet the Team

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

Learn More
Article

Port State Measures

Quick View
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.

19x9 placeholder

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
Quick View

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