Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a major contributor to declining fish stocks and marine habitat destruction. Globally, IUU fishing takes many forms both within nationally-controlled waters and on the high seas. While it is not known for sure how much IUU fishing is taking place, it is estimated that IUU fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of all fishing activity worldwide.
The worldwide value of IUU catches is somewhere between $4 billion and $9 billion per year. Approximately $1.25 billion of this illegally captured fish is thought to be taken from the high seas, with the remainder fished illegally within 200-mile limits of coastal states. Illegal fishing is most prevalent where governance measures to manage fisheries are the weakest, which explains why developing countries are the hardest hit by IUU fishing. An estimated $1 billion in IUU fishing is happening in the coastal waters of sub-Saharan Africa each year.
Strong governance of the high seas through regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) is integral to reducing illegal fishing activities. An increasing number of RFMOs are using port and trade measures to discourage IUU fishing activity. Measures include not allowing vessels suspected of fishing illegally to dock or unload in a country’s port, developing IUU fishing lists of vessels taking part in illegal fishing activities, and scrapping vessels found guilty of multiple illegal fishing offences.
Illegal fishing refers to:
Unreported fishing refers to:
Unregulated fishing refers to: