One fish, two fish, IUU and no fish: unreported fishing worldwide. In: Handbook of marine fisheries conservation and management. Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom, pp. 165-181

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One Fish, Two Fish, IUU, and No Fish:
Unreported Fishing Worldwide
Where there is a sea, there are pirates.
—Ancient Greek Proverb
It is well known that overfi shing is increasingly
threatening the world’s marine capture fi sher-
ies (Jackson et al. 2001; Myers and Worm 2003).
Today, one of the most severe problems affecting
world fi sheries is illegal fi shing.
Illegal or pirate
shing occurs in almost all fi sheries and can take
up signifi cant amounts of global catches (Agnew et
al. 2008; FAO 2002a). Illegal fi shing is a form of
overfi shing, and in today’s world of globalization,
roving pirates are exploiting not only the high seas
(Berkes et al. 2006) but also coastal waters. More-
over, large catches from small-scale unregulated
artisanal fi sheries generally go unreported in devel-
oping countries. Illegal, unreported, and unregu-
lated catches, collectively termed IUU, are the focus
of this chapter, although all, including discards, are
technically “unreported” to the Food and Agricul-
tural Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
catch database (Pitcher et al. 2002).
On 28 August 2003, a Uruguayan-fl agged shing
vessel, the Viarsa 1, was apprehended by Australian
authorities after a record-breaking 21-day hot pur-
(Molenaar 2004). The Viarsa 1 was suspected
of fi shing illegally for Patagonian toothfi sh (also
referred to as Chilean sea bass) in Australian waters
adjacent to the Heard and McDonald islands
(Ribot-Cabrera Ors v. the Queen 2004). The
3,900-nautical-mile chase, which tracked across the
Southern Ocean and into the Atlantic Ocean, was
not only exciting but also raised questions about
the interpretation of international law.
The chase
and arrest caught international attention
and made
headlines around the world. However, the Master
and Crew were acquitted of charges.
For much of the latter part of the last century,
IUU fi shing activity was largely overlooked by those
responsible for setting quotas and management,
although since the 1980s some stock assessment
scientists used IUU information, usually gathered
confi dentially At that time, both national and inter-
national fi sheries agencies were generally quite
explicit about their role in working for the fi sher-
ies industry. Given that the appalling track record
of mismanagement of fi sheries is no longer able to
be concealed, since the early 1990s there has been
demand for more accountability to the public for
what is a commonly owned marine resource. So, in
the past ten years, concerns about overexploitation
and the increased profi le of nongovernmental organi-
zations (NGOs) have focused attention on IUU fi sh-
ers, and there has been a move for increased effort
to gather, and make transparent, information about
IUU. IUU fi shing not only threatens the commercial
viability of target fi sh species, marine ecosystems,
Metuzals, K., Baird, R., Pitcher, T., Sumaila, R. and Pramod, G. (2009) One Fish, Two Fish, IUU and No Fish: Unreported
Fishing World-Wide. Pages 166-180 in Grafton, Q.R., Hilborn, R., Squires, D., Tait, M. and Williams, M. (eds) Handbook of
Marine Fisheries Conservation and Management. Oxford University Press, U.K., 784pp.
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Ecosystem Conservation and Fisheries Management
but also undermines legitimate fi shers and national
and regional conservation measures and challenges
the sovereignty of coastal states (Erceg 2006).
The objective of this chapter is to discuss the
nature of IUU fi shing from a global perspective
before analyzing some case studies to illustrate how
IUU fi shing is being addressed in different regions.
The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic
Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), a regional
sheries management organization with responsibil-
ity for marine resources in the Southern Ocean, is
credited with fi rst coining the term IUU fi shing. At its
annual meeting in 1997, the commission addressed
the multifaceted problems posed by illegal, unre-
ported (or often misreported), and unregulated fi sh-
ing. Since 1997, the term “IUU fi shing” has regularly
been discussed at CCAMLR meetings (it has been a
permanent agenda item) and has subsequently been
adopted by other international fi sheries bodies such
as the FAO, the International Maritime Organization
(IMO) and regional fi shery bodies such as the Interna-
tional Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic
Tuna (ICCAT), the North Atlantic Fisheries Organi-
zation, and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Orga-
nization, among others (Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development [OECD] 2005).
The offi cial international defi nition of IUU fi shing
is given by FAO (2001, 2002b). The three catego-
ries of IUU fi shing are as follows.
12.3.1. Illegal Fishing
Illegal fi shing is conducted by vessels in violation
of national laws or international obligations (FAO
12.3.2. Unreported Fishing
Unreported fi shing refers to fi shing activities that
have not been reported, or have been misreported,
to the national authority or regional fi sheries man-
agement organization (FAO 2001).
This category can be further broken down into
catches not covered by the reporting system. Pitcher
et al. (2002) subdivided this category as follows:
1. Unreported discards, which may or may not
be legal, but are not reported by observers
2. Unmandated catches, which a given agency is
not mandated to record
3. Illegal catch, which includes catches that con-
travene a regulation from the regulatory
body—they may be unreported, misreported by
species or size, or deliberately misreported and
concealed, usually to conceal quota violations
12.3.3. Unregulated Fishing
Unregulated fi shing refers to fi shing activities by ves-
sels without nationality, or by those fl ying the fl ag of
a state not party to a fi sheries management organiza-
tion, and where such fi shing activities are conducted
in a manner inconsistent with state responsibilities
under international law (FAO 2001).
These defi nitions are somewhat problematic. For
example, unmandated and unregulated fi shing may
overlap; discards may be reported or estimated by
a local fi sheries agency but not reported to FAO
because no such catches are included in the offi cial
world catch database. Sport fi shery catches are not
included in the FAO database either, although they
can exceed commercial fi sh catches in some places.
Many small-scale artisanal fi sheries, which make
an increasingly contribution to the world catch,
are sometime estimated (often poorly), and some-
times ignored in national catches reported to FAO.
Also, “ghost fi shing” by abandoned or lost fi shing
nets and traps can be considerable. Inclusion of
estimates of all these sources of catch likely raises
the true world marine fi sh catch by 20–60 percent
(Pitcher et al. in press). Unfortunately, confusion
over IUU defi nitions may encourage disinformation
and the concealment of illegal catches, a loophole
that has been exploited, even in North America, by
“experts” paid by parts of the fi shing industry.
The key factors encouraging IUU fi shing are the
rising demand for seafood; serious overcapacity of
Unreported Fishing Worldwide
the fl eets; high profi tability (see, a per-
nicious combination of poorly crafted regulations
and weak enforcement in developed countries; cor-
ruption and concealment and the ease of obtaining
false documentation in developing countries; and
failure to regulate high seas fi shing.
The demand for seafood continues to rise, and
global per capita fi sh consumption has increased
over the past four decades (FAO 2006). The over-
capacity of the fi shing eet with “too many fi sh-
ers chasing too few fi sh” and subsidies to keep
these fl eets operating are other factors. But most
important, IUU fi shing is an attractive option to
make high profi ts (most operators target high
value species) with low overheads and a very low
risk of apprehension.
The total operating costs of
rms involved in illegal fi shing are generally much
lower than those of the average fi shing fi rm operat-
ing legally, often because safety standards are not
observed and laborers are exploited.
Low labor costs and almost no safety costs
evident for fl eets engaged in IUU activities under
cover of fl ags of convenience (FOCs). In this way,
vessel owners often employ FOC or fl ags of non-
compliance to avoid enforcement to regulation.
This allows an owner to register the vessel under a
more favorable jurisdiction (Erceq 2006).
In the past, IUU fi shing operators have rarely
been apprehended and prosecuted. If they were,
sanctions were too low to act as an effective deter-
rent. In fact, Sumaila et al. (2004) estimated that
penalties should be increased at least 24-fold to
make it unprofi table to engage in IUU fi shing.
According to FAO, IUU fi shing activities have
been reported in various regions of the world, on
the high seas and in coastal areas as well. Some
activities are associated with illicit activities, such
as bribery and corruption, and the use of armed
resistance to surveillance and enforcement. Opera-
tors of IUU vessels are unlikely to respect interna-
tional rules and regulations (FAO 2007b).
A number of international legal instruments exist to
address IUU fi shing. The U.N. Convention on the
Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) sets out the framework
for fl ag states and coastal states to take measures in
respect to IUU fi shing vessels (U.N. General Assem-
bly 2008a). It requires fl ag states to take measures
in respect of IUU fi shing vessels as well as to exer-
cise effective control over ships fl ying their fl ag.
On the high seas, fl ag states are required to take or
cooperate with other states in taking measures for
their respective nationals in order to conserve the
living resources. In the territorial sea, a coastal state
can take enforcement measures to ensure compli-
ance with its laws and regulations (U.N. General
Assembly 2008a).
The U.N. Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA)
was adopted in 1995 with the aim of specifi cally
addressing straddling and highly migratory fi sh.
The overall purpose of the UNFSA was to imple-
ment more effectively the relevant principles of
the 1982 UNCLOS (Lodge et al. 2007). UNFSA
strengthens the legal regime through regional fi sh-
eries management organizations (RFMOs), operat-
ing at global, regional, and subregional levels.
Under UNCLOS and UNFSA, states agreed that
the conservation and management of high seas fi sh-
eries resources could be carried out only through
international cooperation in research and regula-
tion. The FAO compliance agreement is also rele-
vant in this context and entered into force in 2003.
A number of other agreements or incentives
address IUU fi shing. Although these agreements
are not binding (some elements may be representa-
tive of customary international law or refl ected in
UNCLOS or UNFSA), they have made a contribu-
tion to international fi sheries management. They
include the following:
1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible
2001 FAO International Plan of Action on
IUU fi shing (IPOA-IUU)
2005 FAO Model Scheme on Port State Mea-
sures to Combat Illegal, Unreported and
Unregulated Fishing
The 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible
Fisheries is an international code that outlines the
principles and standards of a code of practice for
responsible fi shing on the high seas. Included are
terms for the conservation and management of
resources, since the right to fi sh carries with it the
obligation to do so in a responsible manner (FAO
The IPOA-IUU (which was developed as a volun-
tary instrument by FAO) within the framework of
the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries was
elaborated in 2000 and was adopted by consensus
Ecosystem Conservation and Fisheries Management
in March 2001. This is the plan to respond to IUU
issues, such as refl agging of vessels to evade con-
trols, fi shing in areas without the authorization of
the coastal state, and failure to report catches (mis-
reporting, etc.), whereby states and RFMOs would
be introducing effective and transparent actions to
prevent IUU fi shing (FAO 2002b). Member states
agreed to put the IPOA-IUU into effect by 2004 and
to eliminate subsidies that contribute to IUU fi shing
in order to achieve sustainable fi sheries manage-
ment (Schmidt 2005).
A number of complementary measures have
been adopted by states and RFMOs to combat IUU
shing. Such measures include monitoring, con-
trol, and surveillance (MCS), boarding, inspection
regimes, negative and positive lists of fi shing ves-
sels (also called “black” lists), and market or trade
measures that prevent fi sh or fi sh products derived
from IUU fi shing from reaching the market (U.N.
General Assembly 2008a).
Also, port states have intensifi ed measures, such
as denial of port services to vessels on IUU fi shing
lists (U.N. General Assembly 2008a). FAO also
developed a model scheme for state measures, which
is legally binding (FAO 2005a, 2007a, 2007c).
A logical sequence is the development of a
national plan of action (NPOA). The NPOA for
IUU fi shing is designed so that individual countries
can manage and protect fi sheries in a biologically
sustainable manner and to outline potential action
to be taken when necessary to prevent destructive
practices. A number of countries, such as Australia,
Canada, and the United States, have adopted an
NPOA for IUU fi shing. However, China and Japan,
both major fi shing states, have not yet developed or
adopted an NPOA. Japan has continued to imple-
ment the IPOA-IUU without formally adopting a
formal NPOA.
Although it is nearly impossible to have accurate
values for illegal fi shing activities, because they are
secretive and clandestine, some estimates are avail-
able. The Marine Resources Assessment Group
(MRAG) used top-down and bottom-up method-
ologies to estimate IUU activities (MRAG 2005b).
However, the most common top-down approach
applies global estimates of the proportion of
unreported catch. Pauly et al. (2003) provided an
estimate of unreported catch as a proportion of the
total global reported catch, in the range of 25–30
percent. The average estimate of IUU fi shing in the
MRAG case studies, as expressed as a proportion
of unreported catch, is 18 percent (MRAG 2005a).
The bottom-up approach involves analysis of
more detailed information at the local scale, and
estimates are then scaled up to obtain an IUU fi sh-
ing estimate for the region. Pitcher et al. 2002 have
developed a method whereby Monte Carlo estimates
are used to obtain upper and lower reference points
(see, e.g., Ainsworth and Pitcher 2005; Forrest
et al. 2001; Pitcher and Watson 2000; Pitcher et al.
2002; Preikshot 2001).
One issue in obtaining accurate fi gures is that,
in the developing world, huge catches made by
large numbers of small-scale artisanal fi shers have
gone largely unreported, not least because of the
diffi culties of doing so (e.g., Indonesia has an esti-
mated 60 million part-time fi shers). There is an
encouraging shift to smart methods of estimating
actual catches rather than relying entirely on fi g-
ures reported through government channels (e.g.,
Watson et al. 2004).
Another problem with IUU fi shing estimates is
the scarcity of detailed studies and estimates avail-
able even for developed countries such as Australia,
Canada, or the United States that have elaborate
monitoring systems in place and data over relatively
long time series. The data for IUU fi shing are diffi -
cult to collect, and people seem unwilling to discuss
the issues. However, it is important to remember
that, as in all rackets (whether the fi shing industry
or others), only insiders have the knowledge and
connections (Thomas Naylor, personal communi-
cation, 26 May 2008).
For example, in a study in New South Wales,
Australia, the illegal activities of the abalone stock
were estimated by using public and group meet-
ings as well as interviews and confi dential meetings
(Palmer 2004). Offenders were found to be highly
organized, sophisticated, countersurveillance con-
scious, well funded and equipped, aggressive, con-
tentious, and potentially violent. Levels of illegal
harvesting were estimated at 20–60 percent of com-
mercial catches.
A combination of empirical data collection
(including surveillance data), comprehensive lit-
erature searches, modeling, estimation algorithms,
and interviews with government offi cials, industry
Unreported Fishing Worldwide
representatives, fi sheries offi cers, shers, and trad-
ers should be used to estimate IUU fi shing harvests.
Information on trade, including vessel licenses and
tax data, as well as public meetings and confi den-
tial interviews, would be the optimum method in
order to get an estimate of IUU fi shing.
In the past, the FAO has examined IUU fi shing activ-
ities on the high seas (Bray 2000) and attempted
to produce various estimates. One estimate made
by Evans (2000) was that fi sh catches are probably
underreported by up to 75 percent and high sea
catches by 100 percent.
Local studies of IUU fi shing have been published
from British Columbia (Ainsworth and Pitcher
2005), Chile (Kalikoski et al. 2008), Brazil (Freire
2008), Eritrea (Tesfamichael and Pitcher 2007),
and Morocco and Iceland (Pitcher et al. 2002).
Recently, an FAO-sponsored study of IUU fi sh-
ing in the Arafura Sea, Indonesia (Nurhakim et al.
2008), revealed an amazing 1.5 million metric tons
per annum of unreported fi sh catches; for some
shing gears, estimated catches were 50–100 times
the reported catch. Estimations were carried out by
a consortium of government and fi shing industry
representatives, based on a series of eight work-
shops held throughout the region and on surveil-
lance overfl ights and satellite data.
In the latest global study (refer to Agnew et al.
2008) MRAG and the University of British Colum-
bia estimated illegal fi shing from more than 60
economic exclusive zones (EEZs) and 17 high seas
regions. The estimates were based on a spatial
algorithm for reported (FAO) catch from the Sea
Around Us Project (Watson et al. 2004), and the
infl uence table and anchor points approach based
on literature, working party reports, and interviews
with MCS managers.
Overall, the estimates are based on approxi-
mately 95 percent of global catches. The results
were that globally between 11 percent and 19 per-
cent (12–26 million metric tons per annum) were
illegal. Note that, because it did not include dis-
cards, this global study did not cover all categories
of IUU fi shing. The work demonstrated that there is
signifi cant difference in the level of IUU fi shing and
that the highest trends were evident in the eastern
central Atlantic (FAO area 34). This area is close
to Morocco, the Canaries, and Cape Verde and is
situated in the Gulf of Guinea, where a number of
countries actively fi sh and trade. The lowest trend
in IUU fi shing was observed in the southwest Pacifi c
(FAO Area 81). Over the past ten years, IUU fi sh-
ing has declined in some areas, increased in eastern
central and southwestern Atlantic (especially along
the African coast), and stabilized in others.
Other published estimates of IUU fi shing (Agnew
et al. 2008; High Seas Task Force 2006) estimate
that in some areas commercial catches may be three
times greater than permitted levels.
The overall estimated loss from the examined
sheries is 11–19 percent of the reported catch,
worth US$5–11 billion (10
) in 2003 (Agnew et al.
Taking the total estimated value of illegal catch
losses within the analyzed fi sheries and areas and
raising by the proportion of the total world catch,
the lower and upper estimates of the total value
of current IUU fi shing losses to the formal global
economy worldwide were between US $10 and $23
billion annually, representing between 11 and 26
million metric tons of catch. This estimate is roughly
consistent with the estimate of US$9 billion made
recently by MRAG (2005b), the European Com-
mission’s (2007) estimate of $15 billion, and esti-
mates from Pauly et al. (2002) at $25 billion.
IUU fi shing is driven by the economics of involve-
ment (OECD 2004, 2005). And it persists because
it pays (OECD 2005). The current overcapacity in
the world’s fi shing eet, ineffective management,
and subsidies all contribute to IUU fi shing (Le Gallic
and Cox 2006; Sumaila and Pauly 2006).
The following factors, taken from Sumaila et al.
(2006), are important in determining the potential
benefi t to fi shers that cheat:
Ecosystem Conservation and Fisheries Management
1. The more catch that can be realized by engag-
ing in IUU fi shing, the higher the probability
that a fi sher will engage in IUU fi shing, all
other things being equal.
2. Catch per unit effort or the time it takes to
catch the fi sh is also a consideration since the
more time spent searching for fi sh or travel-
ing to and from the fi shing grounds, the more
the cost and the greater the probability of
getting caught.
3. If prices are too low, then in most cases there
will be no fi nancial incentive to engage in
IUU fi shing. This logic breaks down when
food security is a driving factor.
4. Cost of fi shing includes consideration of the
cost of labor, capital, fuel, license and royalty
payments, and so forth.
A number of variables that form part of the bene-
t–cost calculation of IUU fi shers are provided in
table 12.1.
Each economic driver will act differently. For
instance, one economic driver might reduce costs,
thereby increasing the IUU incentive, and another
might increase the value of the catch, thereby
achieving the same result (OECD 2004).
All these variables are important and can act in
a cumulative way. Most fi sh species subject to IUU
shing are characterized by very high market price.
This has been the case for Patagonian toothfi sh,
orange roughy, and tuna, but less commercially
important species can also reach prices to motivate
IUU fi shers (Schmidt 2005).
Extreme poverty is another economic driver, as
are low penalties for convicted (or repeat offenses).
As mentioned above, Sumaila et al. (2004), using
empirical data, estimated that the maximum penalty
structure should be increased by as much as 24 times
(compared to the current system) for violators to
eliminate the expected positive net profi ts and thus
have an economic effect on IUU fi shing activities.
TABLE 12.1 Main variables in IUU activities
Variable Possible Reasons
1. Quantity IUU vessels are not bound by international regulations
Excess capacity of fi shing fl eet
2. Price Insuffi cient price for certifi ed/labeled fi sh: possibilities to
disguise catches
3. Company tax rate Existence of tax havens
4. Fuel costs Tax system distortion
Insuffi cient restriction to port/facilities access
5. Other running costs No need for avoidance behavior
6. Crew cost Availability of ready and cheap labor, resulting from poor
economic situations in developing countries
7. MCS costs IUU vessels not bound by national and/or international
8. Flagging and registration costs Vessels fl ying fl ags of noncompliance, refl agging
international vessels (IMO)
9. Insurance costs Vessels are not bound by national or international rules
10. Vessel purchase costs Subsidies to build or export vessels: excess capacity
Insuffi cient fi scal and foreign investment rules
11. Repair and maintenance Vessels are not bound by national/international regulations
Poor economic and social situation
12. Safety equipment cost Vessels not bound by national/international regulations
13. Fraud costs Insuffi cient control of trade measures
Existence of global or local economic imbalance
14. Moral/reputation cost Lack of recognition of the gravity of problem
Lack of transparency in ownership
15. Avoidance costs Insuffi cient MCS capacities
16. Expected sanctions Vessels not bound by national, regional, or international
Source: Adapted from Schmidt (2005).
Unreported Fishing Worldwide
Since the networks behind large-scale illegal
shing are often international and circum-
vent international and national laws, interna-
tional cooperation is the only viable avenue
towards solving this problem.
—Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister
of Norway
One of the more recent examples of international
cooperation to deter IUU fi shing was the formation
of the High Seas Task Force (
It was formed in 2003 after a meeting of the Round
Table on Sustainable Development at OECD.
The High Seas Task Force was composed of
government ministers from the United Kingdom,
Australia, Canada, Chile, Namibia, and New Zea-
land. In addition, NGOs such as World Wildlife
Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Con-
servation of Nature were invited to participate.
While an important voluntary initiative, it is fair
to say that a number of signifi cant shing states
were not represented on the task force. In 1999,
more than 19 million metric tons of fi sh was caught
on the high seas; 80 percent of this was taken by
26 countries. China, Thailand, India, and Japan
took more than 1 million metric tons each. Chile,
Indonesia, Philippines, Peru, South Korea, Malay-
sia, Spain, Taiwan, and Iceland captured more
than half a million metric tons. Mexico, Ecuador,
the United States, Pakistan, Norway, Denmark,
Sri Lanka, and Brazil took more than one-quarter
million metric tons, and Russia, Netherlands, Iran,
and France, more than 200,000 metric tons (esti-
mates from the Sea Around Us Project, University
of British Columbia). Of the task force members,
only Chile is in the top 25 countries represent-
ing 80 percent of the high seas catch. The major
distant-water fi shing countries, such as Japan, Tai-
wan, Korea, the United States, and Spain, were not
included (Oceana 2003). Another point to note is
that China to date has not yet signed the UNFSA
(Cheng et al. 2007).
In 2005, Canada hosted an international confer-
ence in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on the Governance
of High Seas Fisheries and the United Nations Fish
[Stocks] Agreement titled “From Words to Action.”
Ministers from 19 states issued a ministerial decla-
ration with specifi c commitments to fi ght IUU fi sh-
ing. These commitments included strengthening the
use of scientifi c information and the precautionary
approach in the decision making of RFMOs, and
increasing MCS (for details, see www.dfo-mpo. shing-surpeche/history_e.htm).
By 2006, the task force identifi ed an action
plan, with a series of proposals (fi gure 12.1). The
task force has been disbanded offi cially, but a
number of states are actively fi ghting IUU shing
using the Chatham House Initiative.
House, London, is the home of the Royal Insti-
tute of International Affairs, a world-leading insti-
tute for the debate and analysis of international
issues. The most recent information on IUU fi sh-
ing worldwide is posted on their web site www.
illegal-fi There is also an International
MCS Network Database of all vessels suspected
of illegal activities.
This is a voluntary network
of more than 50 nations ( hosted by
the United States.
Additionally, the Chatham House has held a
series of annual workshops since 2006 (Chatham
House 2006, 2007, 2008) and published analyses
of improved governance by RFMOs (Lodge et al.
2007; Mooney and Rosenberg 2007; Owen 2007.
Another important initiative is the recent report
on the work of the United Nations Open-Ended
Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the
Law of the Sea (U.N. General Assembly 2008b).
In it, the international community recognized not
only that illegal fi shing poses a threat to sustainable
development, but also that such illegal activities are
run by transnational organized crime groups (point
10c, p. 5). Large-scale IUU fi shing could often be
conducted by global criminal networks operating
across different jurisdictions, and it was evident
from Norwegian analyses that fi shing vessels, cargo
vessels, and other ships had often collaborated in
the commission of various crimes at sea (point
29, p. 9). This is a major development in that the
international community has recognized the links
between IUU fi shing and organized crime.
The role of RFMOs, international fi sheries bod-
ies, is to manage the high seas fi sheries (of highly
migratory and straddling stocks). They do this by
organizing international cooperation around stock
assessments, decisions, and monitoring. However,
the implementation and enforcement remains a
Ecosystem Conservation and Fisheries Management
ag state responsibility. It was thought that the
establishment of these organizations with a set of
multilevel rules would reduce the “tragedy of the
commons” (Lodge et al. 2007), or the concept of
overfi shing or overexploitation with no respect of
ownership of the resource.
In the case of international fi sheries, the diffi -
culty in management is that because of the nature of
international law, many arrangements are voluntary
and on a regional basis. Furthermore, states that are
unwilling to do manage the resource, cannot be com-
pelled to join regional agreements,
and states that
are not party to regional agreements are not bound
by the rules of these agreements (Lodge et al. 2007).
Nevertheless, many RFMOs have begun to take
stronger steps to control fi sheries in their regions
more effectively. Such measures include quotas,
gear restrictions, closed areas, and other controls
on fi shing. Some RFMOs require their markets to
prohibit fi sh from being landed or transshipped in
their ports in cases when fi sh were suspected to have
been landed illegally. Mandatory catch documenta-
tion and trade documentation schemes are increas-
ingly used (Dalton 2005). However, many RFMOs
are facing diffi culties in trying to effectively deter
IUU fi shing activities (Swan 2004).
As part of the High Seas Task Force initia-
tive, Mooney and Rosenberg (2007) analyzed the
RFMOs. They reported that most RFMOs have
now adopted vessel “black lists,” and some have
implemented a trade information scheme to identify
future market opportunities or combat IUU fi shing.
Only three RFMOs—CCAMLR, Inter-American
Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), and Interna-
tional Pacifi c Halibut Commission (IPHC)—appear
to comply consistently with both scientifi c advice
and corresponding management measures.
According to the analysis, CCAMLR is the most
advanced in terms of developing and implementing
measures, not only in adopting overarching objec-
tives and decision rules, but also in its efforts to
monitor and remediate impacts on associated spe-
cies—it conducts assessments on predator species
(Mooney and Rosenberg 2007).
Also, only CCAMLR has incorporated IUU
shing effort into stock assessments for toothfi sh,
including trade analysis. This appears to be assisting
in describing the impact of IUU fi shing within its
convention area (Mooney and Rosenberg 2007).
At the present time, no RFMO has actually
imposed strict measures to deter IUU fi shing activ-
ity effectively (e.g., trade sanctions) (Mooney and
Rosenberg 2007). However, the International Com-
mission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas
(ICCAT) did impose some trade sanctions on Chinese
Taipei for overfi shing bigeye tuna. The 2006 quota
Proposal 1
Strengthen international MCS Network.
Proposal 2
Establish a Global Information System
on High Seas fishing vessels.
Proposal 7
Fill critical gaps in scientific knowledge
and assessment.
Proposal 4
Promote better high seas governance by
1) developing a model for improved
governance by RFMOs; 2) Independent
review of RFMO; 3) Better coordination
and port and trade–related measures; 4)
supporting initiatives to bring all
unregulated high seas fisheries under
effective governance.
Proposal 8
Address the needs of developing
Proposal 3
Promote broader participation in UN
Fish Stocks Agreement and the FAO
Compliance Agreement.
Proposal 5
Adopt and promote guidelines on flag
states performance.
Proposal 6
Support greater use of port and trade
measures by 1) promoting concept of
responsible port state; 2) reviewing
domestic port state measures to ensure
international standards; 3) strengthening
domestic legislation on importing of IUU
FIGURE 12.1 High Seas Task Force list of proposals. (High Seas Task Force 2006)
Unreported Fishing Worldwide
was cut, the total number of vessels was reduced from
100 to 15, and an observer program was put in place
to control transshipments. The program would make
it harder for vessels to launder catches at sea from one
ocean to another. ICCAT also maintains a “black”
vessel list (available from
Yet it is worth noting that CCAMLR has expe-
rienced some success with its catch documentation
scheme for the toothfi sh, and several other RFMOs
use IUU vessel lists to identify IUU vessels operating
within their area.
The United States provides another example of an
initiative of controlling IUU fi shing. In 2007, the
United States passed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery
Conservation and Management Reauthorization
Act of 2006. The original Magnuson-Stevens Act
was the primary fi sheries law for the United States,
and improvements were needed. The new law is
interesting in several respects: it mandates the use
of annual catch limits and accountability measures
to end overfi shing, provides for widespread market-
based fi shery management through limited access
programs, and calls for increased international
cooperation ( This
Act also authorizes the U.S. secretary of commerce
to deny access to American ports to countries that
are found to be engaging in IUU fi shing activities.
12.13.1. Europe Fishes
Africa’s Fish
In recent years, the European Union has become
the world’s largest market for fi sh (New York
Times 2008c). Having overfi shed its own waters of
many species, Europe now fi shes elsewhere and has
to import 60 percent of what it consumes. Most
of these imports are illegal fi sh from developing
nations such as Senegal and northwest African
countries (New York Times 2008b).
Much of the
sh is caught and shipped illegally to the European
Union, disrespecting quotas, regulations, and trea-
The smuggling operations are well fi nanced
and are carried out by large-scale mechanized fi sh-
ing fl eets that are able to stay at sea for long periods
of time. The catch then enters European markets
through the Canary Islands and other ports where
inspection is minimal (New York Times 2008a).
Therefore, the European Union has established a
number of initiatives combating IUU fi shing in vari-
ous ways.
In 2003, the European Union, concerned about
the widespread inaccuracy of offi cial statistics, con-
rmed that misreporting of catch statistics might
have played an important role in the decline of the
cod stocks in the North Sea. In 2002, more than
8,139 serious breaches of rules were recorded by
all member states, including falsifying and misre-
porting of the catch. The countries with the high-
est number of incidents were Spain, France, and
Portugal. These infractions include falsifying, con-
cealing, destroying, and tampering with evidence or
logbooks. The European Union has set up a Com-
pliance Scoreboard, which is available to the public
on the Internet at sheries,
and has imposed heavy fi nes on France.
In September 2008, the European Union,
now very concerned that fi sh products enter-
ing could be of questionable origins, adopted a
new law (coming into effect 1 January 2010) that
will oblige all products entering to be certifi ed as
“legal” (available from sher-
The regulations involve measures to fi sh products
along the entire food chain, control of port access,
inspection provisions, a vessels list, sanctions, and
a certifi cation scheme applicable to all fi sh products
(Committee on Fisheries 2007). Such measures will
ensure traceability of fi sh and enhance ecolabel-
ing schemes. The legislative act is one of the most
comprehensive instruments to prevent IUU fi sh-
ing to date.
However, the legislation will affect
trade and development for African, Caribbean, and
Pacifi c (ACP) states. In a recent analysis of the leg-
islation, Tsamenyi et al. (2008) predicted that, in
practice, such legislation and labeling may lead to
some hardships for the ACP.
12.13.2. Misreporting by China
Watson and Pauly (2001) described misreported
landings by China, where China claimed to have
Ecosystem Conservation and Fisheries Management
caught much more than was likely, given other
catches per unit areas. Overreporting by China was
thought to have masked decreases in the global fi sh
catch for more than a decade. However, China is an
interesting example, because in addition to offi cial
overestimates of catches, at the same time there was
also much misreporting, nonreporting, and illegal
shing. Estimates of the decline in fi sh popula-
tions calculated from 30-year-old historical records
of fi sh catch rates and locations retrieved from a
trunk in Hong Kong suggest that true catches must
have been in the region of the overreported fi gures
(Cheung and Pitcher 2008).
12.13.3. Illegal Fishing in
Australian Waters
There is evidence that organized criminal groups
around the world are becoming involved in IUU fi sh-
ing, lured mainly by demand from China for prized
sh species. In a report by the Australian Institute of
Criminology, organized crime groups from China,
Australia, Russia, Canada, South Africa, New
Zealand, and Japan have all been linked to illegal
shing, with fi sh stocks either sold illegally or used
to launder money (Putt and Anderson 2008). The
authors state that criminal groups targeted prized
species in demand in Asia, such as abalone, shark
ns, and sea cucumber.
According to Putt and Anderson (2008), “It is
clear that overseas illicit markets in seafood prod-
ucts such as abalone, bêche-de-mer and shark fi n
are fl ourishing, due in part to a steadily increasing
demand from mainland China.” What is also clear
is that there is extensive international involvement
in supply (e.g., Australia or South Africa), harvest-
ing (e.g., Spain, Indonesia, or domestic operator),
facilitation (e.g., organized crime groups), and the
market (e.g., mainland China). It is also clear from
the literature that the illicit trade is well run, with
established markets and distribution routes (Putt
and Anderson 2008).
Profi ts from illegal fi shing can be high, with buy-
ers in China willing to pay up to $5,000 for meals
with top-quality abalone, and with demand for
shark fi n growing an estimated 5 percent a year.
In New Zealand, several coastal abalone fi shing
areas have been closed, with the offi cial catch of
1,057 metric tons a year estimated to be matched
by 1,000 metric tons of poached abalone. As crime
groups increased their interest in illegal fi shing, there
is evidence of growing cooperation between crime
groups and gangs in different countries.
“A wide
range of criminal activities may be associated with
the illegal trade, including the concealment of fi nan-
cial transactions and profi ts. These crimes include
violence, corruption, fraud and money laundering,
with the transfer of the proceeds of crime across net-
works and national borders” (McCusker 2005 and
Willetts 1998, as cited in Putt and Anderson 2008).
Putt and Anderson (2008 described that Australian
abalone, shark fi n, and seahorses were attractive
to international poachers, while abalone, lobster,
mud crabs, snapper, and reef fi sh were vulnerable to
poaching for the domestic market. Australia’s com-
mercial fi shing harvest is worth about A$2.3 billion
($2.2 billion) a year, with about A$1.85 billion worth
of seafood exports.
12.13.4. The Case of “Black” Cod
At least one in fi ve (perhaps even one in three)
Barents Sea cod is “black,” that is, illegally and
unreported harvested fi sh taken outside the offi cial
quotas (Grescoe 2008). Black cod ends up in Brit-
ain today. In theory, the Russian and Norwegian
shers are strictly managed under the Council for
the Exploration of the Seas. The fi shers are obliged
to report their catch, but in practice many keep a
second set of logs. Rather than return to port with
a hold overfl owing with illegal fi sh, they are met at
sea by refrigerated transport ships, or reefers, that
take the catch to certain European ports where con-
trols are not as strict.
For example, in August 2006, the Russian reefer
ship Mumrinskiy docked at a port in Holland, after
collecting unreported catches from at least fi ve
trawlers in the Barents Sea (Grescoe 2008). There
were at least 100 Russian trawlers fi shing illegally
and operating in mafi a-style gangs. Russia’s fi shing
industry changed dramatically since the late 1980s
to fi t into the global market. Large-scale illegal and
unreported fi shing was possible due to the change in
domestic markets whereby Russian vessels landed
in western ports. Unreported catches rose from 25
to 130 thousand metric tons in 1990–1992 (Stokke
In 2006, the world’s biggest cod trading com-
pany was Ocean Trawlers, a company of Norwegian
trawlers. The cod, which the fl eet caught in Arctic
seas, was then sent to China to be fi lleted, and fro-
zen blocks were shipped to the United Kingdom
(WWF 2008). Once it was known that it was fi shed
illegally, Britain’s biggest fi sh companies have since
Unreported Fishing Worldwide
tried to distance themselves from this illegal cod.
Nevertheless, the fi sh traders at Billingsgate claimed
that everyone in the industry knows exactly which
cod is black. “It is the stuff that comes in unlabeled
boxes. It also tends to be 20 percent cheaper than
the regular traceable cod!” (Grescoe 2008). And as
long as Britain wants its cod, the stocks will keep
on declining, and some of the cod sold locally is
guaranteed to be black (Grescoe 2008).
12.13.5. Seafood Smuggling in the
Another case of seafood smuggling was reported
in 2007 as Canadian and U.S. agents broke up
an international smuggling ring ranging from the
Caribbean to Canadian and U.S. ports, and major
cities. Queen conch, used in Asian cuisine, was taken
out of the Caribbean and unlawfully transported to
U.S. and Canadian customers. Smugglers illegally
shipped the conch to Canada by air and sea via the
Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras,
and Colombia (Canadian Press 2007). The ship-
ment was falsely labeled as “frozen whelk, product
of Canada” (North Country Gazette 2008). DNA
analysis was conducted and thus confi rmed that the
product was really Queen conch and not whelk as
indicated on the shipping documents. The ring was
dismantled by inspectors from the United States
and the Wildlife Enforcement Branch of Environ-
ment Canada.
12.13.6. Abalone Wars in South
The high demand for abalone has led to the devel-
opment of organized Chinese mafi a syndicates in
South Africa. These syndicates buy poached aba-
lone and smuggle it out of the country (Hauck 1999
as cited in Plagányi and Butterworth 2008). The
demand is driven by its reputed aphrodisiac quali-
ties (in China) and traditional use as a high-status
product for important ceremonial events (in Japan).
The product can be sold legally in Hong Kong and
Taiwan (Gastrow 1999 as cited in Plagányi and
Butterworth 2008).
Drastic declines in abalone populations else-
where in the world, such as the black abalone
Haliotis cracherodii shery off California, have
increased both the demand and the price of aba-
lone. The South African species H. midae is one
of the most sought after because of its large size
and high quality (Tarr and MacKenzie 2002 as
cited in Plagányi and Butterworth 2008). Poaching
undoubtedly occurred throughout the history of
the abalone fi shery, but only during the last decade
has it spiraled out of control. The magnitude of the
catch taken by the illegal sector is unknown. How-
ever, a spokesperson for the illegal sector claimed
that their catch was approximately half that of the
legal commercial fi shery in the 1990s.
In 1997, a joint task force including the South
African Police Service was set up to combat the
poaching problem. Unfortunately, efforts focused in
a specifi c zone, with the result that poachers shifted
their operations to other zones. In 1999, police
estimated that the illegal harvesting and trade was
worth approximately 500 million South African
rand (approximate equivalent to US$75 million)—
approximately the same as the profi t from the legal
harvesting and sale of abalone (Gastrow 1999 as
cited in Plagányi and Butterworth 2008).
In 2002 and 2003, the poaching activity
exceeded the total legal take ever recorded (Tarr
and MacKenzie 2002 as cited in Plagányi and But-
terworth 2008). Given the large scale and lucrative
business of poaching operations, the local fi ght
against poaching has, at times, been akin to a war
with gun-toting gangsters set against police, sol-
diers, and environmental offi cers. A recent social
and criminological study (Hauck 1997 and Hauck
and Sweijd 1999 as cited in Plagányi and Butter-
worth 2008) highlighted the need to shift away from
policing and toward more cooperative management
structures (Plagányi and Butterworth 2008).
The “top-down” government or international agency
initiatives have generated a lot of literature, but their
effectiveness is highly questionable largely because
of the absence or poor design of the legal instru-
ments that are supposed to act as incentives to com-
ply. In fact, some of the most effective recent efforts
to reduce illegal fi shing have been led by large-scale
global fi sh wholesale traders in an effort to gain mar-
ket share for their products through various forms
of ecolabeling, or eco-responsible “green” protocols
increasingly adopted by large fi rms.
For example, in the Barents Sea, illegal fi shing
by the almost uncontrollable Russian vessels was
rife by 2006, but was reduced by at least 80 percent
Ecosystem Conservation and Fisheries Management
when the half dozen key fi sh buyers let it be known
that purchases would be based on environmental
responsible protocols adopted by these global com-
panies (Canon, personal communication). In this
case, there was no “ecolabel” that a consumer
would see as such, and the highly effective incen-
tive was driven by the desire to make sales sustain-
able by aligning company policy with a “greener”
public opinion. But ecolabels themselves can also
reduce IUU; for example, in Canada, a December
2008 advertising campaign by a major retailer piv-
oted on the use of Marine Stewardship Council–
certifi ed salmon.
NGOs, Greenpeace, WWF, the Environmental
Justice Foundation, and commercial fi shers have
also identifi ed ways to curb IUU fi shing. They do
this by obtaining and disclosing information on
vessel ownership and fi shing licenses. For exam-
ple, the International Southern Ocean Longline
Fisheries Information Clearing House (ISOFISH)
was established and funded by industry and con-
servation groups with a mandate to halt IUU fi sh-
ing (Erceq 2006). ISOFISH was very successful in
bringing IUU fi shing of the Patagonian toothfi sh
into the public domain.
As well as NGOs, some industry representatives
have become involved. In 2003, the Coalition of
Legal Toothfi sh Operators released information on
a group of deep-sea fi shing vessel operators from
Galicia, northwest Spain. Information from this
group was used to identify individuals believed to
have played a key role in the operation of at least
26 IUU vessels (Erceq 2006). In 2004, the same
group released further information to suggest that
the individuals were linked to IUU fi shing opera-
tions in Uruguay (Erceq 2006).
Another way to deter IUU fi shing operations is
to target involved individuals (through educating
and training), not only fi shing masters or offi cials
as Erceq (2006) suggests, but also the consumers
as Grescoe (2008) advocates. As long as the con-
sumer, whether in Asia, in the Americas, or in the
European Union, is willing and able to pay for
illegal seafood, the overfi shing will persist. Con-
sumers should take an active rather than passive
role in obtaining complete and correct information
regarding the origin, labels, and production meth-
ods of suppliers (Clarke 2007).
In fact, the importation of poached seafood
(e.g., in Japan) demonstrates that where there is the
demand, there can be a thriving black market in
sh, even in highly regulated environments. One of
the problems with regulating seafood is that once
it is fi lleted it can be passed off as anything—it no
longer looks like the fi sh it was.
IUU fi shing not only is overfi shing the already
depleted fi sh stocks of the world, with its associated
biodiversity loss but is also a major economic prob-
lem, where illegal fi sh are mixed and mislabeled in
the legal international markets (Jacquet and Pauly
2007, 2008).
The cases we have chosen illustrate the IUU fi shing
problems from Australia’s toothfi sh, to Barents Sea
cod, to abalone in South Africa, to smuggling in the
Caribbean and Europe. Although they are very dif-
ferent, each case describes one type of IUU fi shing.
In the case of Australia’s toothfi sh, it was shown
how international legislation and compliance is still
lacking to stop unreported and unregulated fi sh-
ing. Yet some progress has been made to date. The
Barents Sea cod example shows that unreported
shing occurred: no labeling, no market measures,
and transshipments. The smuggling in the Carib-
bean has shown that illegal products can easily
enter international legal markets. The misreporting
in China is probably only one of many misreport-
ing activities worldwide.
This chapter has provided a brief overview of
the problem of IUU fi shing and some of the interna-
tional, regional, and national responses. Although
international and national regulations protect the
marine resources to ensure sustainability, more
effort is required at tackling IUU fi shing. Lately,
serious crime and organized criminal activity have
been linked to the fi shing industry. Nevertheless,
some process was made at the international level,
when the U.N. General Assembly in 2008 recog-
nized that IUU fi shing was connected to organized
crime groups (U.N. General Assembly 2008a).
According to Putt and Anderson (2008), global
experience suggests that key factors can hinder
efforts to reduce and prevent organized criminal
a weak or complex regulatory environment
inadequate resources and expertise and a fail-
ure of vision
corruption and poor governance
insuffi cient cooperation between key agencies
nationally and internationally
Unreported Fishing Worldwide
Addressing organized criminal activity in fi shing
creates law enforcement challenges for all countries
(Putt and Anderson 2008) and at all levels. Mean-
while, the main challenge of marine fi sheries today
is how to effectively achieve sustainable fi shing and
to stop overfi shing. Relatively simple market-based
incentives have been virtually ignored by the “top
down” management agencies, and a careful exami-
nation of innovative ways to encourage this trend
might have surprisingly effective results. Unless IUU
shing is recognized as an environmental crime,
and we see a rigorous enforcement of existing laws
coupled with smart use of market incentives, IUU
may well continue until the last fi sh disappears
from the sea.
Acknowledgments Many thanks to Prof. Butter-
worth and Eva Plagányi, who provided informa-
tion on the South African experience. A very special
mention to Prof. Thomas Naylor of the Economics
department at McGill University, Montreal, Can-
ada. We also thank Lori Ridgeway, Angela Bexten,
and Pola Yip of the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans, Ottawa, who provided the latest informa-
tion on IUU fi shing activities.
1. The U.N. Secretary General stated that IUU
shing was “one of the most severe problems cur-
rently affecting world fi sheries.” IUU fi shing was
addressed at length in the 1999 Secretary’s Gen-
eral’s report to the U.N. General Assembly on
Oceans and the Law of the Sea. Also in 1999, the
General Assembly adopted resolution 54/32, which
included references to combat IUU fi shing. And
again in 2008 (U.N. General Assembly 2008a).
2. “Hot pursuit” refers to pursuit by vessels, air-
craft, or offi cials with different nationalities. In this
case, the nations were Australia, South Africa, and
the United Kingdom.
3. Whether the pursuit was a valid hot pursuit
under international law was one such question.
4. The illegal catch was sold for more than
AU$1 million. The crew was acquitted by jury trial.
One relevant factor in the case was the lack of evi-
dence of actual fi shing within the Australian fi shing
zone. The events are described in Knecht (2006).
5. Although the jury ultimately acquitted the
charged crew members, the arrest and forfeiture
of the vessel and catch appear to have acted as a
deterrent to would-be IUU fi shers searching for
Patagonian toothfi sh. There have been no arrests
in Australia’s Southern Ocean exclusive economic
zone (EEZ) since 2005.
6. Cognitive implications of the fi nal clause of
item 3 are of considerable interest because it raises
a number of points about the failure to perceive a
need to regulate new fi shing areas, often remote
from capital cities where fi sheries agencies head-
quarters are generally located, or far from the devel-
oped world. This attitude has led to a consistent
pattern of neglect of the regulation of such fi sher-
ies since the 1950s. For example, the same prob-
lem has been evident surprisingly recently in the
increasing exploitation of deep-sea fi sh resources.
The use of estimation algorithms to cover areas and
times that lack detailed data means that this issue
needs no longer impede the will to attempt rational
7. However, the risk of apprehension has
increased in some regions. For example, Australia
increased its surveillance and enforcement presence
in the northern sector of its EEZ in 2005–2007,
with a corresponding peak in arrests.
8. See the case studies in International Trans-
port Workers Federation (2006).
9. The Agreement for the Implementation of
the United Nations Convention on the Law of the
Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conser-
vation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks
and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks is also called the
U.N. Fish Stocks Agreement of 1995.
10. For more information, see Essential References
on Port State Measures, available at
11. See point 25 in FAO (2005b).
12. These initiatives were supported by the
United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Australia,
and WWF International.
13. The International MCS network is hosted
by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA), available at http://www.
14. Under international law, states cannot be
compelled to accept obligations within conven-
tions—the rule of pacta tertii (i.e., “Res inter alios
acta alteri nocere non debet” [often cited as the
pacta tertii rule]: “Things done between strangers
ought not to injure those who are not parties to
them”; Black 1968, p. 1471).
15. The region’s governments bear much of the
blame for their fi sheries’ declines, since many have
made money from foreign fl eets rather than con-
trolling fi shing.
16. A major problem is that many governments
are encouraged to join conventions, treaties, and
agreements, but they lack the capacity to effec-
tively coordinate enforcement measures and/or the
funding needed to carry through the management
responsibilities that signing has created (Lodge
et al. 2007). In general terms, this is the situation
in many African States, where E.U. distant-water
Ecosystem Conservation and Fisheries Management
eets fi sh illegally in coastal waters (New York
Times 2008a).
17. The Times of London (2005) reports,
In July 2005 France was been fi ned the largest
amount imposed by the highest court of the
European Union for fl outing EU fi sheries law
over 20 years on a scale that posed a serious
threat to fi sh stocks. Paris was fi ned E20 mil-
lion ($32.4 million) by the European Court of
Justice after it found the French Government
guilty of allowing fi shers to catch and sell
small, immature fi sh in defi ance of EU efforts
to conserve fi sh stocks. Citing the duration
and seriousness of the offences, the court
also imposed a recurring fi ne of E57.8 mil-
lion every six months until France complies
with EU policy. The court considered this one
of the most serious breaches of European law
because France shrugged off two decades of
inspections, warning letters, legal threats and
court action by the European Commission,
which upholds EU policy. France, one of the
most frequent transgressors of EU law, was
found guilty of the same offence in 1991, but
largely ignored the judgment.
18. See Council Regulation establishing a Com-
munity system to prevent, deter and eliminate ille-
gal, unreported and unregulated fi shing, amending
Regulations (EEC) No 2847/93, (EC) No 1936/2001
and (EC) No 601/2004 and repealing Regulations
(EC) No 1093/94 and (EC) No 1447/1999 Brussels,
22 September 2008. Number 12083/08, Peche 204.
Interinstitutional fi le: 2007/0223(CNS).
19. While three priority species in Australia
were identifi ed from the literature as attractive to
international illegal markets (abalone, shark fi n, and
seahorses), there are also illegal domestic markets in
many species, including abalone, rock lobster, and
native fi sh. During consultations, stakeholders also
referred to illegal restaurant/café trade in poached
reef fi sh, eel, crayfi sh, squid, razor fi sh, snapper,
and dhufi sh, as well as the illegal taking of rare
cowries, ornamental fi sh, and coral. It is impossible
to estimate the size and value of these illegal domes-
tic markets. However, it was estimated in 1997 that
one of Australia’s better known abalone poachers
was earning in excess of $1 million a year from the
harvest and sale of illegal abalone (Tailby and Gant
2002, as cited in Putt and Anderson 2008). Tailby
and Gant (2002) thoroughly researched the illegal
market in Australian abalone but were not able to
accurately quantify either the size or the value of
the illegal market (Putt and Anderson 2008).
20. Most illegal rock lobster is shipped from
Sydney to Melbourne to Hong Kong, where it
may be transshipped to other destinations, such as
Singapore, China, and Taiwan (Putt and Anderson
2008, p. 15). Hong Kong is the focus for the legal
global trade in products such as abalone, shark fi n,
seahorse, and bêche de mer. There appears to be a
major market for illegal abalone, with dried aba-
lone being sold in large quantities in Kong Hong.
Hong Kong acts as a gateway for the legitimate and
illegal trade to mainland China, and it has been
suggested that two systems operate to facilitate the
smuggling of abalone into mainland China, with
the fi rst involving local fi shing authorities whereby
duty is paid. This is a safer but more expensive
option than the second system via “gangster con-
trolled organizations” (Chung 2005, as cited in
Putt and Anderson 2008, p. 19).
21. Furthermore, Putt and Anderson (2008)
speculate that the illegal fi sh trade could be used to
pay off other criminal activities, such as drugs and
arms sales and human traffi cking.
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  • Article
    Full-text available
    The conservation of fish stocks in the world’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs), which collectively harbour the vast majority of marine-living resources, is the primary responsibility of coastal States. As the effects of failures by coastal States to protect those stocks from the impacts of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing may extend beyond domestic boundaries, this paper questions whether and how coastal States may be made accountable in respect of their regulatory deficits. With the proliferation of non-legal conduct rules to guide the regulatory role of States and their agencies, non-judicial mechanisms have the potential to foster coastal State stewardship of domestic fisheries. Outlining a number of international, transnational and domestic approaches, this paper gives consideration to the opportunities and limitations they present in order to strengthen coastal State accountability for IUU fishing control deficits.
  • ... Smallscale fisheries – frequently characterized as multi-method, multi-species fisheries – are a key source of food and livelihood throughout the world, but are vastly underreported. Small-scale fisheries continue to be unaccounted for in national fisheries statistics, resulting in severe underestimations of catch weight and fishing effort (Zeller et al. 2007;Metuzals et al. 2010). The quantification and characterization of small-scale fisheries using traditional fisheries assessment methods are hindered by 1) a lack of research capacity (McCluskey and Lewison 2008), and 2) the diversity of fishing strategies in complex ecosystems (Andrew et al. 2007). ...
    ... Small-scale fisheries may account for over half of the catch of developing country fisheries (FAO and WorldFish Centre 2008), and characterize up to 90% of the world's fishers (Béné et al. 2007). And yet small-scale fisheries continue to be unaccounted for in national fisheries statistics, resulting in severe underestimations of catch weight and fishing effort (Zeller et al. 2007;Metuzals et al. 2010). The quantification and characterization of small-scale fisheries using traditional fisheries assessment methods are hindered by 1) a lack of research capacity (McCluskey and Lewison 2008), and 2) the diversity of fishing strategies and ecosystem complexity (Andrew et al. 2007). ...
    ... From a management and research perspective IUU fisheries have been given a negative connotation to the point that the FAO has deliberately set out to " prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing " (FAO 2001). What are often missing from these characterizations of IUU fisheries is small-scale fisheries (Metuzals et al. 2010). Small-scale fisheries often fall with both the unreported and unregulated categories (Zeller et al. 2007), but do not fall within commercial or high seas contexts and so are often left out of IUU assessments. ...
  • ... Second, marine fisheries are prosecuted at sea and this makes it difficult, and often expensive, to monitor what is caught, where fish are harvested, by whom and when. The challenges of effective monitoring has resulted in misreporting and also fish practices that may be detrimental to both targeted and non-targeted species—a problem made much more difficult in the high seas and for highly migratory fisheries (Metuzals et al. 2010). The lack of property rights in fisheries has allowed fishers to either freely enter a fishery (open access), or if the number of vessels is controlled (limited-user open access), to make investments on their vessels and adopt new technologies that increase the effective fishing effort over time, even when nominal fishing effort is regulated. ...
    The causes of overfishing are reviewed along with deficiencies in top-down input-regulated fisheries management. An alternative is the three pillars of fisheries policy intended to ensure sustainable, economically viable fisheries and marine ecosystems. The first pillar are incentives that promote a long-term interest in both fisheries and marine ecosystems; the second are targets that account for the bioeconomics of fisheries; and the third, adaptive management practices, especially marine protected areas, that promote resilience against ecosystem disturbances. Collectively, the three pillars offer a practical and proven combination to ‘turn the tide’ and help overcome the overexploitation prevalent in many of the world's marine capture fisheries.
  • ... Small-scale fisheries may account for over half of the catch of developing country fisheries (FAO and WorldFish Centre 2008) and characterize up to 90% of the world's fishers ( Béné et al. 2007). Yet, small-scale fisheries continue to be unaccounted for in national fisheries statistics, resulting in severe underestimations of catch mass and fishing effort ( Zeller et al. 2007b;Metuzals et al. 2010). The quantification and characterization of small-scale fisheries using traditional fisheries assessment methods are hindered by (i) a lack of research capacity (McCluskey and Lewison 2008) and (ii) the diversity of fishing strategies and ecosystem complexity ( Andrew et al. 2007). ...
    Full-text available
    Small-scale fisheries catch and effort estimates are often built on incomplete data because they overlook the fishing of minority or marginalized groups. Women do participate in small-scale fisheries and often in ways distinct from men's fishing. Hence, the inclusion of women's fishing is necessary to understanding the diversity and totality of human fishing efforts. This case study examines how the inclusion of women's fishing alters the enumeration of fishers and estimations of catch mass, fishing effort, and targeted organisms in 12 communities in the Central Philippines. Women were 42% of all fishers and contributed approximately one-quarter of the fishing effort and catch mass. Narrower definitions of fishing that excluded gleaning (gathering of benthic macroinvertebrates in intertidal areas) and part-time fishing masked the participation and contribution of most women fishers. In this case study, it is clear that overlooking women and part-time or gleaning fishers led to the underestimation of fishing effort and catch mass. Overlooking gleaning had also led to underestimation of shells and other benthic macroinvertebrates in fishing catches.
  • ... Building on wider concerns over the state of global fish stocks [5,6], the sustainability of tuna stocks in the WCPO has come under increased scrutiny by governments and civil society groups alike [7,8]. The impact of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing on the sustainability of tuna and other species [9,10] has been taken up by the EU as a key issue in both domestic and external fisheries governance. IUU fishing also represents an economic imperative for the EU with losses estimated to be between US$10-23.5 billion globally each year [11]. ...
  • Chapter
    Full-text available
    This evaluation of compliance with Article 7 (Fishery Management) of the UN Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing (FAO 1995) is a 'living document' and may change with time. It is one of 53 such country evaluations covering the top 96% of the world fish catch. Using a wide range of cited source material, the document represents the best attempt by the authors at presenting a fair and objective evaluation of compliance using 44 questions derived from the Code. Questions are divided into six evaluation fields, (Management Objectives; Framework (data & procedures); Precautionary Approach; Stocks, Fleets and Gear; Social and Economic factors, and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance): the derivation of the 44 questions is described in Pitcher (1999). The first three fields cover intentions of a country's legislation to adhere to the Code; while the last three evaluation fields are intended to rate actual performance. Full details of the methods are published in Pitcher, Kalikoski and Pramod (2006). This evaluation has been subjected to several internal cross-checks and, where stated, has been validated by experts familiar with the country concerned. Uncertainty in assigning each score is shown explicitly. However, the authors are aware that omissions and errors of interpretation may still remain for some countries. An open protocol has therefore been adopted for all country compliance evaluations, and the team remains open at any time to comments, corrections or adjustments. Updated versions are made available online as necessary (ftp: Copy edited by Janice Doyle General Original text in Chinese: translation by Yajie Liu with Janice Doyle: Mods, March, November 2007 modifications to English version only Validated by staff from the East China Sea Fishery Research Institute, Shanghai, China Ranked 1st in world catch 1999 14,552,262 tonnes (FAO) In own EEZ 8,269,812 56.8% (SAU) 873,805 km
  • Article
    To fully understand the impact of fishing on the marine environment, it is necessary to have an estimate of total extractions from the ecosystem. In addition to nominal fisheries landings and reported discards, which are regulated and monitored, removals will include a certain amount of illegal, unreported and unregulated catch (IUU). This amount, if considered, might profoundly affect our forecasts of stock abundance and safe removal rates. Here, we present preliminary estimates of the quantity of IUU catches over time for the British Columbia salmon and groundfish fleets. Based on influences in the history of the fisheries, and on independent estimates of misreporting, our methodology employed a Monte Carlo routine to determine missing catch with an associated error range. From the 1950s to the 1980s, we estimated that between 10,000 and 20,000tonnes of catch went unrecorded every year in the BC salmon and groundfish fisheries. IUU catch increased throughout the 1980s, and by 1990 the amount was probably closer to 30,000tonnes per year, equivalent to 18% of recorded landings. At present, less catch is unaccounted for thanks to tighter monitoring and enforcement: about 8000tonnes per year, or 6.6% of landings. Values calculated here, using this subjective but transparent methodology, are intended to provide a starting point for further discussion and amendment.
  • Article
    Unreported catches from three major fisheries in the Eritrean Red Sea were investigated in order to estimate the impact of the total extraction of fish from the ecosystem, which will help the assessment of the resource and its management. The fisheries target small pelagics, demersal finfish and shrimps, and were chosen for their major contribution to the total Eritrean catch, economic importance and/or significant contribution to unreported catch. The analysis covers the period from 1950 to 2004, subdivided into five-year blocks. Factors that provide incentives to fishers to misreport were obtained by examining the historical development of the fisheries; analysis was based on interpolations, guided by these incentives, between independent quantitative estimates of unreported catch ('anchor points'). Errors were estimated using a Monte Carlo sampling technique. The fishery industry in Eritrea operated smoothly from the mid-1950s to the end of 1960s, when it was disrupted by political instability. Fishing operations were normalised again at the beginning of the 1990s. Of the three fisheries, the small pelagic fishery has the least unreported catch — a maximum of 5% of the total extracted. The total catch from the three fisheries has been under-reported on average by 21%.
  • Article
    Abstract To evaluate the impacts of ¢shing on marine ecosystems, the total extraction of ¢sh must be known. Putting a ¢gure on total extraction entails the di⁄cult task of estimat- ing, in addition to reported landings, discards, illegal and unmandated catches. Unre- ported catches cast various types of shadow, which may be tracked and estimated quantitatively. Some shadows of unreported catches are reviewed, for example, an innovative, well-funded NGO publicizes illegal catch in the Southern Ocean. For various reasons, o⁄cial ¢gures often have the implicit but unacceptable assumption that such categories are null. We present an estimation procedure,based on adjustment,factors taken from observer reports, correspondents and published information that track changes in a regulatory regime, and hence re£ect incentives and disincentives to misre- port. Monte Carlo simulations address uncertainty,using multiple sources of informa- tion to provide upper and lower estimates. Once in place, this method provides preliminary,estimates that may,be re¢ned without,disruption. The method,is demon- strated for ¢sheries in Iceland and,Morocco. We use,a ‘by-species’ approach,for Icelandic cod and haddock, while the Moroccan catch is divided into demersal and pelagic categories. Results suggest that Icelandic cod catches may,have been under- estimated by between 1 and 14% at di¡erent times, and haddock by between 1 and 28%. Underestimation,of Moroccan,catches appears to have been as much,as by 50%. These case studies show that it is possible to obtain estimates of misreporting, even when,direct data are lacking. Our method,encourages,transparency,because,sources of information are presented so that uncertain values are easily identi¢ed, o¡ering a Correspondence: T.J. Pitcher, Fisheries Centre, 2204 Main Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Article
    Mapping global landings is an important prerequisite for examining causal relationships between fishing and ecological change. Landing statistics, typically provided with poor spatial precision, can be disaggregated into a grid system of spatial cells (30 min ×30 min) using a rule-based approach and ancillary data about distributions of fished taxa and fishing access of reporting countries. Presentation of time series catch composition is then possible for many types of marine areas including biogeochemical provinces, large marine ecosystems and exclusive economic zones.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Using a recently developed database of fisheries subsidies for 148 maritime countries spanning 1989 to the present, total fisheries subsidies for the year 2003 is computed. A key feature of our estimation approach is that it explicitly deals with missing data from official sources, and includes estimates of subsidies to developing country fisheries. Our analysis suggests that global fisheries subsidies for 2003 are between US$ 25 and 29 billion, which is higher than an earlier World Bank estimate of between US$ 14–20 billion. This new estimate is lower than our 2000 global subsidies estimate of US$ 30–34 billion. We find that fuel subsidies compose about 15–30% of total global fishing subsidies, and that capacity enhancing subsidies sum to US$ 16 billion or about 60% of the total. These results imply that the global community is paying the fishing industry billions each year to continue fishing even when it would not be profitable otherwise—effectively funding the over-exploitation of marine resources.
  • Article
    The use of trade measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Northeast Atlantic has evolved from unilateral denial of the landing of fish taken outside international quota arrangements to a multilateral Scheme of Control and Enforcement under the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). International trade rules have not constrained this development, mostly due to successful management of the interplay between international resource management and trade regimes. States protect resource management objectives from such constraint by inserting clauses that establish a normative hierarchy, or they employ various means for adapting IUU measures to the ‘environmental window’ of the global trade regime. The fact that regional states have introduced trade restrictions only when non-restrictive or less restrictive measures have failed enhances such compatibility, as do the gradual shift from unilateral to multilateral measures and the rise in transparency, openness and target-state involvement. None of those features reduces the effectiveness of regional trade measures; they minimize tension with trade commitments and largely strengthen their clout in the struggle to combat IUU fishing in the Northeast Atlantic.