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What is IUU fishing?

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

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  • fisheries management,
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  • Livelihoods,
  • Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU)
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IUU fishing involves diverse activities, occurs worldwide, and threatens conservation efforts, responsible fishers, and marine ecosystems.

Published on the FAO website, this article discusses Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing as a broad issue encompassing various fishing activities. It occurs in different types of fisheries, on the high seas, and within national jurisdictions. IUU fishing involves all aspects of fish capture and utilization and can be associated with organized crime. The IUU framework categorizes these activities as follows:

1. Illegal fishing involves fishing in a state’s waters without permission or in violation of its laws and regulations. It can also be carried out by vessels from states that are party to regional fisheries management organizations but operate against their measures.

2. Unreported fishing entails not reporting or misreporting fishing activities to national authorities or regional fisheries management organizations, breaching their reporting procedures.

3. Unregulated fishing occurs in areas under the jurisdiction of regional fisheries management organizations, conducted by vessels without nationality or those from states not party to the organization. It goes against conservation and management measures, or in areas with no applicable measures, violating international law.

IUU fishing undermines efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks at both national and regional levels, hindering long-term sustainability goals. This activity disadvantages responsible fishers and threatens marine biodiversity, food security, and the livelihoods of those dependent on fisheries resources when IUU fishers target vulnerable stocks with strict management controls or moratoria.