Attempts to sustainably manage and regulate fisheries are undermined by Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) – or pirate fishing.
IUU fishing depletes fish stocks, destroys marine ecosystems, puts legitimate fishers at an unfair disadvantage and jeopardises the livelihoods and food security of some of the world’s poorest people.
Around US $10-23.5bn of fisheries revenue, equivalent to 11-26 million tonnes of fish, is lost annually to IUU fishing. In Africa alone, over US $1bn is lost every year to pirate fishing.
Governments and industry alike are aware of the devastating impacts of pirate fishing. However, efforts to remove IUU fish from markets and supply chains are frustrated by a lack of transparency in global marine fisheries. Vessels can be easily re-named and re-flagged, allowing unscrupulous operators to target states with low enforcement. Licensing of fishing vessels is often undertaken through complex multinational business relationships that mask the real beneficiaries in the countries whose resources are being used.
It can be difficult, even impossible, for consumers to determine the provenance of the fish they buy. There is also evidence that fish caught illegally is fed to farmed shrimp and fish, which are then sold to industrialised countries.
EJF’s work in West Africa and internationally has highlighted this lack of transparency and led us to advocate a number of key actions to help address current problems. These actions will need the involvement of stakeholder groups including governments, industry, civil society and international organisations.
EJF's Oceans Campaign is supported by
Environmental Justice Foundation Charitable Trust (EJF) is a registered charity in England and Wales (no. 1088128)
Environmental Justice Foundation Limited is a not-for-profit trading company limited by guarantee registered in England (no. 0385 3159)