A fisherman paddles his canoe past a fishing vessel during sunrise in the central Philippine island of Cebu August 9, 2009. REUTERS / Victor Kintanar

ROME (Reuters) - Illegal fishing is depleting the seas and robbing poor nations in Africa and Asia of resources, but a lack of global cooperation is undermining efforts to track rogue vessels, an environmental group said on Tuesday.

The Pew Environment Group, a Washington-based think-tank, has found that a United Nations scheme to oblige ports to crack down on illegal fishing boats is handicapped by a lack of accurate information, implementation and participation.

In the five years from 2004, of 176 vessels blacklisted by regional fishing authorities, only 55 turned up on port records, Pew said in a report it presented to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome.

In some cases, ports were not checking ships' identity, using the unique vessel number on their hulls. In others, ships had found ways of avoiding detection, such as changing their names, sometimes doing so mid-voyage before entering a region where enforcement was stricter. …

Pew estimates that a fifth of all fish landed come from illegal, unregulated or unreported vessels -- and this figure rises to around half for valuable species like blue fin tuna. …

Illegal fishing evades U.N. crackdown: study



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