Distribution of fishing revenues, 2009. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing comprises 18 percent of the total revenue. Between 11 and 26 million tons of fish are lost to IUU fishing, totaling $10-23 billion annually. Graphic: Agnew, et al., 2009 / Global Ocean Commission

24 June 2014 (Global Oceans Commission) – The widespread occurrence of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is caused by economic incentives enabled through a lack of regulation and enforcement, which result from global governance deficiencies. Each year that it is allowed to thrive, illegal fishing on the high seas is stripping oceans of fish stocks and threatening the food security of over a billion people, mostly in the developing world. The overall extent of IUU fishing on the high seas is very difficult to estimate, largely because much of it is unreported or illegal. The most reputable estimate suggests that IUU fishing on the high seas is worth US$1.25 billion annually. However, IUU fishing also affects areas within national jurisdiction. If EEZs are included, the estimate increases to a sum between US$10 and US$23.5 billion annually. This represents somewhere between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish lost to IUU fishing – a mean loss of 18% across all fisheries.

Linkages between IUU fishing activities and other forms of criminality are widely recognised, including fishing vessels used for smuggling migrants, drugs and weapons, as well as for committing acts of terrorism. It was also reported that some fishing vessels are used as base stations from which criminal activities take place, as supply vessels for other vessels engaged in criminal activities, or simply as cover for clandestine activities at sea and in port. In particular, attention is increasingly being paid to the relationship between IUU fishing vessel operations, human trafficking and human rights violations.

From Decline to Recovery - A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean [pdf]


  1. Anonymous said...

    These estimates are too low. Illegal fishing now accounts for 38% of the world's "catch".

    Nice pdf article - but it downplays the point of ocean collapse. The oceans are not "nearing the point of collapse" - they are in a state of collapse and growing worse by the day.

    None of the "8 Proposals to Advance High Seas Recovery" deal with the core issues of overpopulation, monetization of natural resources, endless growth or capitalism, which means "they missed the boat" here (again) - BIG TIME.

    This failure to address core issues will not permit recovery of the world's oceans. It will only "manage" the collapse for the benefit of humans (again).

    Once again, too little, too late. Another key opportunity completely missed to point out the glaring faults of civilization.

    The core issues are not even being discussed and they are the most important issues of all.

    The oceans could recover - if we left them alone and controlled (limited) our activities on land (in a perfect world), but now they are in a state of collapse and dealing the terrifying affects of climate change, acidification, species extinctions, pollution and toxic wastes. The thermohaline currents are also be dramatically affected.

    Unfortunately, I see this as a stronger-worded-but-toothless attempt to point out what's wrong while missing the most important issues of all - which is US. We have to deal with US and what we demand and expect and the fundemental notion that GROWTH is no longer GOOD.  


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