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Illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing

Monday, July 7, 2014

If a tree falls in the forest, but there’s nobody around to hear the sound, did it really happen? Let’s rephrase that a bit. If a fish is taken from the ocean, but there’s nobody around to document it, did it really happen? Out of sight may be out of mind, but for the one billion people who depend on the ocean for their livelihood illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, or IUU, is very real. US$23.5 billion dollars of reality.



That’s the estimated value of fish stolen from the oceans by fishermen who don’t play by the rules. Law-abiding fishermen lose out. The mass of fish involved is staggering: 26,000,000,000 kilogrammes of fish, or one in five fish caught, is stolen. 


It’s not just fishermen who suffer from IUU, but also sovereign states that depend on revenue from fish resources for their economic wellbeing. They are being robbed of their fair share of local and global quotas. Research has shown that there’s a strong link between governance and “pirate fishing,” which may be a better way of describing IUU. A disproportionate amount of pirate fishing takes place in developing countries.