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]