In this section, you may find new materials that have been published on the topic of “Fighting against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU): Successes from ACP countries”, since the date of the event. We continually select major new publications and articles that add up to the policy points discussed in this briefing:
FFA, PNA combine to combat IUU fishing in the region
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean is being targeted for elimination like never before following calls by Pacific Leaders for “action to end illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and associated activities.” Earlier this year, Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, who is also the current Chair of the Ministerial Forum Fisheries Committee, highlighted a key priority for the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) “is concerted and strengthened collective approach to combating the continued threat of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.” In October, Marshall Islands President Dr. Hilda C. Heine again elevated the focus on IUU fishing by calling on Pacific nations and those fishing in the Pacific to strive to abolish IUU fishing within five years. “IUU activity has devastating consequences,” President Heine said. “A five-year target to eliminate IUU fishing by 2023 is bold but the stakes are too high not to be audacious in the goals we set. If we are serious about combating IUU, we need a tougher mindset.” Pacific fisheries managers are using the momentum of calls from Leaders to ramp up work to mitigate IUU fishing, and FFA Senior Officials are meeting in Honolulu this week in advance of next week’s Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) annual meeting. “The value of the Pacific fishery to individual Pacific Islanders and the economies of our 17 island members is enormous,” said Dr. Manu Tupou-Roosen, Director General of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA). “This is motivating new initiatives in support of existing monitoring, control and surveillance programs to eliminate IUU fishing.”
African countries fighting back against illegal fishing
One in four fish in Africa is still caught illegally, despite the efforts of many African nations to overcome the problem. According to the organization Stop Illegal Fishing, an independent non-profit based in Africa dedicated to ending illegal fishing in the continent’s waters, ongoing efforts are being made by the majority of African maritime states to end illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, but greater momentum is needed if the “New Frontier of African Renaissance” – hailed by the African Union earlier this year – is to come to fruition. IUU fishing is threatening the sustainability of fish stocks, damaging the ecosystem, depriving governments of income, and African people of their livelihoods, according to Peter Thomson, United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean. And the scourge of IUU is affecting a majority of African nations; 38 of the 54 African countries have coastal borders and many inland countries have vast lakes, which are also affected by illegal fishing and poor fishing practices. The issue of IUU in Africa has been well-studied, and numerous solutions have been proposed. A report in 2016 by the Overseas Development Institute and Spanish research and journalism group PorCausa used satellite tracking to monitor the methods and scale of the problem, pointing out that transhipments, lack of inspection of containerized shipments, inadequate legal frameworks, poor technology, and a lack of political will were all partly to blame.
Seychelles: Project Fishguard – Seychelles to Monitor Illegal Fishing With Unmanned Drones
Monitoring of illegal fishing activities in the waters of Seychelles will soon be conducted by drones as the island nation embarks on a trial project. The Seychelles Fishing Authority will be the coordinator of the project — called FishGuard — which will be integrated into the fisheries patrol routines of the Seychelles Air Force and the Seychelles Coast Guard. “SFA is a leading partner in this project and eagerly looking forward to its implementation in view of the potential to significantly improve how the authority combats illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities, especially in the northern part of our EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone),” said Ronny Renaud, the authority’s chief executive. Surveillance of large marine areas will be done using a combination of the short and long-range drone equipped with artificial intelligence. A drone is an unmanned aircraft that may be remotely controlled or can fly autonomously through software-controlled flight plans by working in conjunction with onboard sensors and GPS. The project will be tested in October with the Seychelles Air Force designated as the operator. The Coast Guard will support the project by providing a vessel for at-sea deployment of the drones, and the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority will ensure that safety requirements are met and required flight authorizations are obtained.
Seychelles and 79-Nation ACP Secretariat to Focus on ‘Blue Economy’ at the UN
The Secretariat of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and the government of 115-island Seychelles east of mainland East Africa are organizing a joint event at the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 25, 2018 – enabling Small Island Developing States (SIDS) share experiences in harnessing the blue economy and to identify areas of further development. The event will be taking place one year after Ministers in charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture in ACP countries concluded two days of comprehensive talks in Nassau, the Bahamas on September 21, 2017. They renewed commitment to developing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in their countries, as well as unlocking the potential of the ‘blue economy’ through a new ‘ACP Blue Growth Initiative’. More than 150 delegates from at least 60 fish-exporting countries and regions gathered to strategize on how to enhance the role of fisheries and aquaculture in their national socio-economic development. “The ACP Group remains determined to play a catalytic role to enhance the sustainable flow of benefits from the fisheries and aquaculture sectors for development of our countries. To this end, it is necessary to enhance capacity building activities, deepen our policy analysis and continuously explore ways to secure funding from our partners for this purpose,” said ACP Secretary General Dr. Patrick Gomes, reaffirming the important role of the sector in ensuring food and nutrition security, livelihoods, and revenues for ACP states.
Papua New Guinea: K400m lost through illegal fishing
About US$152 million (K497 million) is lost from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Association (FFA), which Papua New Guinea is a sizable member of. Maritime security and transnational crime was also another concern in the region, according to the regional monitoring control and surveillance strategy 2018-2023 document that was released last week by FFA. The document said despite significant progress in the last five years, “illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing still exists in Pacific tuna fisheries”. “The 2016 IUU quantification report estimated the value of total product either harvested or transshipped involving IUU activity in Pacific tuna fisheries at US$616.11 million (K2 billion) with a potential economic loss to FFA Members of US$152.67 million (K499 million) per year,” it said. “This IUU fishing is mostly driven by licensed vessels.“Over 95 per cent of the total estimated volume and value of IUU activity primarily relates to under-reporting, misreporting and non-reporting. “Therefore, an important focus of this strategy is on improving levels of compliance amongst licensed fleets. “In addition to IUU fishing, Pacific Island countries also face threats to maritime security resulting from transnational crime.
Europe lifts Tuvalu’s yellow card over fishing governance
The European Union has lifted a so-called “yellow card” it had given Tuvalu over its fisheries management. The lifting comes following improvements Tuvalu’s made to fight illegal fishing. The European Commission said Tuvalu has amended fishing laws, complied with other state obligations and brought in sanctions. It said it was also updated its fisheries management system and adopted regional conservation measures. The yellow card was an official warning to EU trading partners in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Tuvalu was issued the yellow card in December 2014, at risk of being considered a “non-cooperating country.” Fish caught by vessels operating in these countries can’t be imported into the EU. The European Commission said it recognised Tuvalu’s progress in addressing shortcomings in its fisheries governance. It said the EU had been able to help Tuvalu combat illegal fishing through a range of measures. According to the European Commission, Tuvalu had amended its fisheries legal framework in line with international law of the sea instrument. It had complied with flag, port, coastal and market state obligations, and also included a deterrent regime of sanctions. Furthermore, Tuvalu has updated its fisheries management system on “best scientific advice and precautionary approach practices” and has complied with the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission conservation and management measures.
Surveillance operation tasked to find illegal fishing in Pacific
No illegal fishing activities in the Pacific Islands region were discovered during a massive ten day operation called Operation Island Chief 2018 (OPIC18) covering more than 16.5 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. The operation aimed to detect, deter, report and/or apprehend potential illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing activities, but no infringements or breaches were found. OPIC18 ended on 3 August and involved hundreds of personnel from the ten Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) member nations including Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, Palau, PNG, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, and the Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group (QUADs) – Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States. In addition, patrol boats from Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands, as well as aircrafts from Australia and the United States took part. The OPIC18 was helld in joint coordination led by the FFA’s Fisheries and Surveillance Centre (RFSC) team. Fisheries, Police Maritime Units and Navy officers of FFA members also joined the RFSC team as watch-keepers, working around the clock shifts during the operation, with the primary task of monitoring and analysing the Regional Surveillance picture and all incoming data from the QUAD surveillance providers.
South Africa gives progress on allocation of fishing rights
The fishing industry needs more Africans in general to participate as Small Scale Fisheries (SSF) at all levels as primary fishers, processors and marketers, said Senzeni Zokwana, South Africa’s agriculture minister. The ocean economy, specifically the fishing sector is one of the profitable sectors yet underreported in terms of its opportunities for the economy at large. Since the appointment of Zokwana, there has been a firm commitment to make transformation and diversify the sector which is dominated by established foreign companies harvesting the marine living resources. “Allocation of fishing rights to the previously disadvantaged sections of the society is my priority,” Zokwana added. A lot of work is being done in this regard to open more access through quotas so that fields are levels for entrance. Ocean economy carries with it opportunities for this country, it has a potential to unlock numbers of employment opportunities whilst facilitating many downstream and upstream business opportunities including in its value chain. In areas where there are no issues of social redress to level the access fields in marine living resources extraction, which is the biggest economic endowment the country has, the sector will act in ways that are non-interventionist.
Europe lifts Tuvalu’s yellow card over fishing governance
The European Union has lifted a so-called “yellow card” it had given Tuvalu over its fisheries management. The lifting comes following improvements Tuvalu’s made to fight illegal fishing. The European Commission said Tuvalu has amended fishing laws, complied with other state obligations and brought in sanctions. It said it was also updated its fisheries management system and adopted regional conservation measures. The yellow card was an official warning to EU trading partners in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Tuvalu was issued the yellow card in December 2014, at risk of being considered a “non-cooperating country.” Fish caught by vessels operating in these countries can’t be imported into the EU. The European Commission said it recognised Tuvalu’s progress in addressing shortcomings in its fisheries governance. It said the EU had been able to help Tuvalu combat illegal fishing through a range of measures.
Fiji joins international treaty against IUU fishing
fish info & services, 17/07/2018
The Fiji government has agreed to sign up to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) treaty aiming to prevent, deter and stop illegal fishing by implementing efficient port state measures. From Fisheries Ministry it is explained that the goal of this commitment is to ensure a substantial amount of revenue is not lost and the livelihood of Fijians in coastal areas are unaffected. The treaty, known as Port State Measures, determines that Fiji will have to implement measures in their ports to detect illegal fishing, stop the landing and the sale of illegally caught fish and ensure the information on unscrupulous vessels is shared worldwide. Fisheries Officer Meli Raicebe points out they guarantee control over the work done to eliminate the negative environmental, economic and social consequences of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation reported. Foreign fishing vessels would have to request permission to enter Fiji’s ports and transmit detailed information about their identities, activities and the fish they have onboard.
Mozambique ‘losing $60m a year’ to illegal fishing – report
Mozambique is losing at least $60m a year because of illegal fishing, the country’s minister of the sea, inland waters and fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane, has reportedly said. According to Mozambique News Agency, Mondlane revealed this during the 7th meeting of Fish-i Africa in the capital Maputo recently. “We should take on individual and collective responsibility for defending the noble interests of our peoples and nations,” Mondlane was quoted as saying. He said the most effective way to fight illegal and unreported fishing would be through unified efforts from African countries along the Indian Ocean to help gain food security for the development of the affected countries. The fight against illegal fishing has been ongoing, as it also contributes largely towards overfishing. A lot of fish and other marine animals have been placed on the “threatened species list”, according to UN Environment.org.
Gabon: Three Illegal Fishing Vessels Arrested
Three fishing vessels have been arrested in Gabon, a year after Gabon’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba declared the creation of nine new national marine parks and 11 new aquatic reserves at the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York. The marine conservation group Sea Shepherd is assisting the government in combating illegal fishing in what is now Africa’s largest network of marine protected areas. First, two trawlers, the F/V Jin Li 961 and F/V Jin Li 962, were arrested for fishing illegally in the northern waters of Gabon. The trawlers were detected by the radar of the Sea Shepherd vessel M/Y Bob Barker as they crossed the border from neighboring Equatorial Guinea to fish in marine reserves protected under Gabonese law. Armed Gabonese navy sailors boarded the two trawlers and government inspectors found a finned tiger shark in the hold of one vessel. Both vessels are now detained in the Port of Libreville. Another vessel, the F/V Hua Yi 5, was arrested earlier near the Congolese border in the Grand Sud du Gabon Aquatic Reserve for fishing in Gabonese waters without a license.
Mozambique loses $60m a year to illegal fishing
Mozambique is losing at least $60 million a year due to illegal fishing and is seeking international assistance to a crackdown on illicit fishing in its waters, Fisheries Minister Agostinho Mondlane said on Tuesday.Mondlane told a regional meeting in the capital Maputo that illegal fishing activity was having a negative impact of Mozambique’s annual revenues. “We should take on individual and collective responsibility for defending the noble interests of our peoples and nations,” Mondlane said as he officially opened the 7th meeting of Fish-i Africa, a partnership of eight east African countries. The official noted that illegal fishing hurts economies and holds back development of African countries. Fishing contributes about four percent to Mozambique’s’ gross domestic product.
More than 300,000 tons of fish harvested illegally in Pacific region: report
About 306,440 tons of fish were harvested illegally in the Pacific region with an estimated cost of 616.11 million U.S. dollars from 2010 to 2015, a Fijian government official said here Thursday. While presenting the Ministry of Defence submission on the Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and unregulated Fishing, Fiji’s Deputy Secretary of Defence Ilai Moceica said that this was stated by a report from the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (PIFFA). Describing this as a huge loss for many Pacific Island Communities economy and for the many islanders who rely on the fisheries sector for their livelihood, he said that the ratification and accession of an agreement and its implementation will contribute to strengthen fisheries management and governance at all levels. The illegal and unreported fishing is a maritime security challenge that needs to be addressed as it would not only have a direct impact on Fiji’s blue economy but also it will impact the livelihood of coastal and maritime communities, he added.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Ghana is not only a serious threat to the ecology of the oceans, but also denies the country much needed tax revenues which can be used to stimulate economic growth and delivery of poverty alleviation projects. According to an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study titled Better Policing for Development 2014 Policy Coherence and Illicit Financial Flows, the fisheries sector is of strategic importance to many countries but remains vulnerable to a wide range of tax crimes and other transgressions – including money laundering, corruption, drugs and arms smuggling. In Ghana, more than 10 percent of the country’s 28 million population are said to be engaged in the fisheries sector – the greater part of the people dependent on fisheries are artisanal fisher-folks and fishmongers, according to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. But despite this huge number of people employed by the fisheries sector, the industry’s contribution to the country’s GDP for more than a decade has been nothing but disappointing. The sector, according to Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) contributed 2.5 and 2.3 percent to GDP in 2009 and 2010 respectively. It however tumbled to 1.7 % of GDP in 2011 and has since never recorded any figure above that. Currently, its contribution to GDP is at a paltry 1.2 percent from the 1.1 percent recorded in 2016, clearly reflecting a sector that is in terrible distress.
EU launches project to combat IUU fishing in Western Africa
fish info & services, 04/05/2018
The European Union has launched a project funded under the European Development Fund (EDF), including a component aiming to improve the fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activities in Western Africa. The five-year project, called PESCAO, aims to improve regional fisheries governance in Western Africa through different measures such as developing a regional fishing policy, putting in place regional coordination against IUU fishing and improving fish stock management at regional level. The EUR 15 million project is one of the many significant commitments to ocean conservation made by the European Union at the 2017 Our Ocean Conference hosted by the EU in Malta. “The European Fisheries Control Agency is eager to extend its existing cooperation with fisheries control authorities in the European Union Waters to its two African partners in this project,” pointed out Pascal Savouret, Executive Director.
Committees For West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme Inaugurated
Mrs Elizabeth Afoley Quaye, Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD) has inaugurated two reconstituted committees for the implementation of the final component of the West Africa Regional Fisheries Programme (WARFP) in Ghana. The committees which have five members each are the Alternative Livelihood Compensation Management Board and the National Revolving Fund Implementation Committee (NaRFIC). Mrs Quaye charged the committee members to work hard towards the achievement of the objectives of the project which commenced in 2012 and expected to end in June 2018. She reminded them that the project was aimed at improving the sustainable management of Ghana’s fish and aquaculture resources. Other objectives of the 53 million US Dollars programme were; reducing of illegal fishing, increasing the value and profitability generated by fish and aquacultic resource exploitation, and the developing of the aquaculture sector. She urged them to review the project and make a proposal for the second phase of the project for consideration by the Ministry.
Mozambique, Madagascar want agreements to combat illegal tuna fishing
Mozambique’s Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane, and his visiting counterpart from Madagascar, Gilbert François, want to sign bilateral agreements to combat illegal tuna fishing in their maritime waters, APA can report on Wednesday.The two officials met late on Tuesday in the Mozambican capital, Maputo. “A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed soon with a view to implementing the understandings reached, within the framework of the talks begun between the two countries”, he told a media briefing late on Tuesday. Madagascar’s Fisheries Minister said “satellite, radar and port inspections will be used to crack down on illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean, where tuna catches have reached the maximum sustainable limits”, Francois said, adding that port inspections will play an increasingly major role in the crackdown, with authorities checking boats, documents and even cargo.
He continued: “Estimated to be about 10 to 15 percent of the region’s total catch, illegal and unreported fishing disrupts the tuna trade worth tens of millions of dollars every year”.
COLTO: Arrests of illegal toothfish harvesters making a difference
Undercurrent News, 11/04/, 2018
Richard Ball, chairman of the Coalition of Legal Toothfish Operators (COLTO), said the recent arrests of illegal toothfish harvesters is making a difference. “The transition over the last 20 years has been astounding. From the peak of illegal fishing in 1997, IUU fishing for toothfish has been reduced by 99%,” he said. Ball’s comments follow news that Liberia’s coast guard seized the Hai Lung, a ship reported to be a “notorious Antarctic and Patagonian toothfish poaching vessel,” as it was transitioning through the West African nation’s coastal waters on March 13. The vessel, which also has operated under the names Yele, Ray and Tropic, to name a few, has been blacklisted by a number of regional fisheries management organizations, including the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, according to Sea Shepherd, an ocean conservation group. A big clue to the Liberian coast guard boarding officer that the ship was doing something illegal was that it handed him a certificate of Indonesian nationality that was allegedly issued on Aug. 8, 2017 by a senior ministry of transportation who was known to have been transferred to another position at the time, Sea Shepherd recounts.
Off of East Africa, Military Forces Join Fight to End Illegal Fishing
pewtrusts, 26/03/ 2018
Western Indian Ocean coastal nations continue to struggle to control illicit maritime activity, including illegal fishing, which accounts for up to 1 in 4 fish caught in the region. Authorities often lack adequate ways to collect information on suspected illegal activity or the capability to take enforcement actions when they detect it. To help address those issues, the U.S. Defense Department’s Africa Command and European, Canadian, and Australian forces recently led a training exercise to help nations synchronize the detection of and respond to suspicious activity. The annual exercise, called Cutlass Express, brings together African partner nations to strategize, train, and synchronize efforts around potential real-world scenarios. In February, I was fortunate enough to be part of the exercise and saw the navies and coast guards from Mozambique, Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritius, Seychelles and Somalia working together to improve safety, security, and freedom of navigation in African waters. Pew’s ending illegal fishing project was invited to the exercise to bring fisheries enforcement expertise and on-the-water experience.
Centre to fight illegal fishing to be set up
As a signatory to the SADC Protocol on Fisheries, South Africa will play a significant role in the establishment of the SADC regional Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC) which will soon be established in Mozambique. The SADC MCSCC is expected to enhance and coordinate compliance and enforcement efforts in the SADC region in order to combat illegal fishing. “Fighting illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing is one of the priorities of the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). Fisheries crime is not just a national challenge but it is also a global scourge that undermines governments’ poverty eradication efforts. “The fact that fisheries crime is largely transnational in nature raises a need for organised global communities to work together in addressing illegal fishing,” said the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on Sunday.
DAFF working on illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing as part of Phakisa
defenceWeb, 06/03/ 2018
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is a major player in government’s blue economy initiative under the Operation Phakisa umbrella and this week said it would “galvanise” itself and law enforcement agencies to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. The comments come as the Hawks arrested 16 people in Gansbaai in the Western Cape on Monday in a sting operation over abalone poaching. Eight of those arrested are officials from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The officials apparently assisted poachers in the area and will this week appear in the Hermanus Magistrates Court on charges of corruption, racketeering and defeating the ends of justice. Vico Thembalethu, Acting Chief Director: Monitoring Control and Surveillance, said abalone poaching is part of the IUU fishing problem which in its entirety “threatens world food security and ecosystems”. “South Africa is not exempt from this and DAFF has galvanised law enforcement agencies through Operation Phakisa to deal with IUU fishing,” he said, adding the national department responsible for the continued well-being of South Africa’s oceans understands the need for “organised international communities to work collaboratively in dealing with it”.
How blockchain is strengthening tuna traceability to combat illegal fishing
The Conversation, 21/01/ 2018
In a significant development for global fisheries, blockchain technology is now being used to improve tuna traceability to help stop illegal and unsustainable fishing practices in the Pacific Islands tuna industry. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand, in partnership with US-based tech innovator ConsenSys, tech implementer TraSeable and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd, has just launched a pilot project in the Pacific Islands tuna industry that will use blockchain technology to track the journey of tuna from “bait to plate”. The aim is to help stop illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and human rights abuses in the tuna industry. These have included reports of corruption, illegal trafficking and human slavery on tuna fishing boats.
Ghana Makes Progress In Combating Illegal Fishing
Ghana is an important fishing nation in Africa and the World because about 10% of its citizenry operates in the fisheries sector and produces about 450,000 metric tonnes of fish from both capture and culture. It is also known to have high per-capita fish consumption higher than the world’s average. Based on the characterization of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, Ghana stands as a Coastal State, Flag State, Port State and also a Market State. Ghana is therefore under international obligation to ensure that its own fishing fleets are regulated; has capacity to regulate fishing activity in its Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) and designated fish landing ports to avoid becoming a destination for illegally caught fish; and also to ensure that its fish products entering the international markets are certified. In November 2013, Ghana’s failure to take sufficient actions against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activities by Ghana flagged vessels, brought about the European Commission’s issuance of a ‘yellow card’ sanction on Ghana. This yellow card effectively banned the export of fishery products from Ghana into the 28-nation trade bloc of the European Union.
PNG active in eliminating illegal fishing
postcourier, 14/12/ 2017
Moves towards eliminating illegal fishing near Papua New Guinea and in the wider Pacific are high on the agenda of PNG at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting in Argentina this week. During a session on illegal fishing, Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Rimbink Pato delivered a keynote contribution in support of trade rules requiring the abolition of subsidies given by certain major economies to their fishing industries. Mr Pato and Commerce and Industry Minister, Wera Mori are representing PNG at the ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires. Mr Pato commented after his role in the high level session on “illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing”. “We know from experience that fishing subsidies by big economies are detrimental to smaller scale fishing industries in PNG and other Pacific countries,” Mr Pato said.
Sierra Leone receives $4m World Bank grant to support fisheries
Undercurrent News, 6/12/2017
Sierra Leone has received a $4 million grant from the World Bank to help support the country’s fisheries sector, reports Awoko. Speaking at the West African Regional Fisheries Program, Sierra Leone’s minister of fisheries and marine resources said the grant would help the country prevent and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities. Jingjie Chu, World Bank task team leader and senior natural resource economist, said proper management of both the artisanal and industrial fisheries sector would require education and commitment.
African Nations Are Sharing Data to Crack Down on Illegal Fishing
News Deeply, 07/11/2017
An initiative called FISH-i Africa helps coordinate the efforts of eight cash-strapped countries to uncover and catch pirate fishing operators in the western Indian Ocean. In July 2016, the trawler Greko 1 approached Mombasa, Kenya, a major fishing port on the western Indian Ocean. Registered in Belize and owned by a Panamanian subsidiary of a Greek company, the boat’s operators had been fishing for years in Somali waters and unloading and selling their catch in Mogadishu and Mombasa. In Kenya, they would present a fishing license issued by Somalia. Authorities in Mombasa had sought to verify the legitimacy of the license with their counterparts in Somalia and couldn’t get a response. But when the trawler approached Mombasa this time, port authorities denied the Greko 1 a berth, forcing the vessel back to sea. What its operators didn’t realize was that since the last time it had been in Kenya, Somalia had joined FISH-i Africa, an initiative supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts that coordinates the efforts of eight East African coastal countries to stop illegal fishing in the region. At Somalia’s first meeting of the group a month earlier, it had shared information about the Greko 1, revealing to the other task force members that the vessel had been operating with a forged license.
Caribbean officials agree on marking vessels to fight IUU fishing
As the Caribbean continues its fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, fisheries officials agreed at a meeting last month to harmonize standards for marking authorized fishing vessels, as well as to establish a list of vessels involved in IUU fishing. According to a news release on the website of the Food and Agriculture Organization, a working group comprising members of the Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, and the Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of Central America reached the agreement at a second meeting, held 19 to 21 September, to devise strategies for deterring, preventing, and eliminating IUU fishing. IUU fishing is estimated to account for 20 to 30 percent of fish harvests in the Western Central Atlantic fisheries, which includes the Caribbean Sea, and is valued at between USD 450 to 750 million (EUR 384 to 640 million) annually.
FishWise coordinates new global alliance aimed at combating illegal fishing via supply chain revisions
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and FishWise have come together in a new alliance aimed at combating illegal fishing and strengthening sustainable fisheries management. The new global initiative, the Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT), will promote knowledge exchanges and actions surrounding legal and sustainable fisheries via improved transparency in seafood supply chains, alliance coordinator FishWise said in a news release. To address the challenge of illegal and unreported fishing – which generates annual illicit profits of USD 15 to 36 billion (EUR 12 to 30 billion) – SALT “will bring together the seafood industry, governments and nongovernmental organizations to accelerate learning and collaborate on innovative solutions for legal and sustainable seafood,” the alliance explained. Embracing traceability is at the heart of SALT’s mission, and will help business and governments ensure that seafood is legally sourced and comes from sustainably managed fisheries. “Traceability is a critical component of an efficient, modern and sustainable seafood industry,” Walton Family Foundation Oceans Program Officer Teresa Ish said. “This is an exciting collaboration that we hope will incentivize and support seafood companies to implement best practices, more effectively self-regulate and play a role in stronger fisheries management.”
C’bean countries adopt measures to deal with Illegal fishing
Fisheries and Aquaculture ministers from the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries have agreed on measures aimed at accelerating the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as well as address the issue of fisheries subsidies at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). A statement issued at the end of the fifth ACP meeting of ministers in charge of fisheries and aquaculture, held earlier this week, also indicated that the ministers had agreed on measure to strengthen aquaculture production, promote effective fisheries management and support small scale fisheries. The statement noted that the meeting ended with delegates agreeing to ‘a renewed commitment to developing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors in their countries, as well as unlocking the potential of the ‘blue economy’ through a new €40 million (one Euro=US$1.29 cents) “ACP Blue Growth Initiative”. The statement noted that the meeting was attended by more than 150 delegates from at least 60 fish-exporting countries and regions, who gathered to strategise on how to enhance the role of fisheries and aquaculture in their national socio-economic development.
Ghana: Akufo-Addo calls for end to illegal fishing, over-exploitation of fish stock
Ghana Web, 14/09/2017
Government has set an inter-ministerial committee to check activities of unregulated and illegal fishing said to be depleting the fish stock in the country’s waters. President Akufo-Addo who announced this Thursday said government is discussing plans to acquire a fishing research vessel to monitor n address illegal fishing in the country. Speaking at Tema to welcome a fishing vessel Dr Fridjof Nansen which is equipped to undertake study of the eco system and fishing research, he said the country risk being fish deficient if illegal fishing is not checked. He added that illegal methods of fishing, as well as the over-exploitation of Ghana’s marine resources, cannot continue, as they threaten the very essence of the country’s existence. According to the President over the years, and especially in recent times, nearly all of Ghana’s marine fisheries and some inland fisheries have been overfished. This, he said, is buttressed by the last stock survey conducted in April 2016, which shows that sardines, the dominant fish stock, are disappearing from Ghanaian waters.
Investigations into four serious breaches of vessel fishing licenses have opened up after another regional fisheries surveillance sweep in the Pacific tuna fishery. Operation Island Chief, a ten-day annual operation which ended August 4, involved nine Pacific patrol boats from the 10 participating FFA member nations – Fiji, FSM, Kiribati, Palau, PNG, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. Island Chief 2017 covered more than 14 million square kilometres of Ocean. Of the four ‘QUAD’ nations who offer their defence and military assets to support regional surveillance, Australia, NZ and the US participated in Island Chief 2017.
Trinidad and Tobago’s IUU fishing yellow card from EU sign of deeper problem
SeafoodSource, August 2017
When Trinidad and Tobago received a yellow card from the European Union last year for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the country’s government was motivated to take steps to remedy one of the problems plaguing the twin island nation’s fishing industry for decades. However, the yellow card served to highlight systemic problems with the management of Trinidad and Tobago’s fisheries that has led to important fish stocks being overexploited or fully exploited. The overexploitation or full exploitation of important fisheries has meant that local fishermen “have to go farther and farther to catch fewer and fewer fish,” said Terrence Beddoe, president of the NGO Fishermen and Friends of the Sea of Trinidad and Tobago (FFOS). It also means that the country is spending much more on seafood imports than it earns from fish exports, according to trade data on the Food and Agriculture Organization’s website. A 2014 report by the Fisheries Division of Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries revealed that many of the most important marine fish stocks have either been overfished or fully exploited.
Sweden pledges USD$5.4m to help FAO tackle illegal fishing
WorldFishingandAquacutlure, June 2017
Sweden has made a USD$5.4m contribution to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ (FAO) activities to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The pledge was made following an FAO co-hosted event to discuss one such initiative; the Port State Measures Agreement, which took place in Oslo, Norway. After a meeting between FAO’s director-general, José Graziano da Silva, and Sweden’s Minister for Rural Affairs, Sven-Erik Bucht, Minister Bucht said: “The Port State Measures Agreement is one of the most important tools for addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Such fishing activities are a threat to marine life and impede the development and prosperity of vulnerable countries. This harmful fishing must be completely stopped.”
The research paper describes and compares the apparent impact of multilateral and unilateral trade-related measures implemented to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including trade and catch documentation schemes and trade-restrictive measures that identify and sanction countries for perceived weaknesses in addressing IUU fishing. It includes a series of recommendations that could help to make these trade-related measures more effective and more coherent.
Liberia Establishes National Working Group To Stop Illegal Fishing
Liberia has taken the first step through a consolidated effort to stop illegal fishing within its territorial waters, involving the West Africa Task Force (WATF) to establish its National Working Group (NWG) during a one-day workshop held in Monrovia on 21st July 2016. The WAFT brings together the six member countries of the Fisheries Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea (FCWC) namely Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria and is hosted by the FCWC. The regional Task Force comes along with the project “Fisheries Intelligence and MCS support in West Africa” to tackle illegal fishing and fisheries crime and is supported by a Technical Team including Mat Tracking (TMT), Stop Illegal Fishing and NFDS with funding from Norad.
USD 123 million lost in income due to IUU fishing in the Pacific
An independent study led by Ministerial Review of The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) reveals that the nations of the Pacific lose USD 123 million in revenue from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. The announcement was made by FFA Director General James Movick while opening the FFA judicial conference in Honiara. “Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing continues to be an ongoing challenge in our region. It undermines all conservation and management efforts and robs our people of important revenue, pointed out Movick. Ministers welcomed the review and work done towards combatting IUU fishing in the Pacific region. “It is crucial that all who may come across current and emerging technologies in their work have the opportunity to discuss and fully understand such technologies, Movick stressed. He also said that one of the inputs to that Ministerial Review was an independent study that has more reliably analysed and quantified the nature and extent of IUU fishing in the FFA member region.
World’s first illegal fishing treaty now in force
A groundbreaking international accord aimed at stamping out illegal fishing went into effect today and is now legally binding for the 29 countries and a regional organization that have adhered to it.The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) – adopted as an FAO Agreement in 2009 after a years-long diplomatic effort – is the first ever binding international treaty that focuses specifically on illicit fishing. The threshold to activation of the treaty- official adherence by at least 25 countries – was surpassed last month, triggering a 30-day countdown to today’s entry-into-force. “This is a great day in the continuing effort to build sustainable fisheries that can help feed the world,” said FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva. “We hail those countries that have already signed on to the agreement and who will begin implementing it as of today. We invite governments who have yet to do so, to join the collective push to stamp out illegal fishing and safeguard the future of our ocean resources.”
Norway and South Africa co-operating on stopping illegal and unlawful fishing
South Africa’s law enforcement efforts at sea, particularly as far as illegal fishing is concerned, have been boosted by Norway which is funding a fisheries law enforcement academy. The academy is based at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth and will benefit from to the tune of R50 million over a five year period. The agreement was signed late last month by Norwegian ambassador Trine Skymoen and NMMU acting vice chancellor Dr Sibongile Muthwa during a Port Elizabeth conference on Operation Phakisa, government’s plan to tap into the blue economy and make it a bigger contributor to GDP as well as providing work. Fishing crimes, which include illegal and unregulated fishing, as well as illegal harvesting of ocean produce and the trafficking of people, drugs and arms are some of the issues that will be tackled by the fisheries law enforcement academy, also known as FishFORCE.
New International Accord to Tackle Illegal Fishing
A new international accord to tackle illegal and under-reported fishing will come into force on June 5. Under the Port States Measures Agreement (PSMA) governments will be required to inspect foreign fishing vessels that dock in their ports. “The vessels themselves have the obligation to prove that their condition and the catches that they have on board are in fact taken legitimately,” Matthew Camilleri, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)’s chief shepherd of the Port State Measures Agreement told IPS. “If there is a closed season for swordfish and this vessel is coming in with swordfish than that is going against the management plan and therefore that is illegal,” he said.
EJF welcomes EU’s leadership in combating IUU fishing
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJR) applauds the EU Commission’s warnings to Sierra Leone with a “yellow card” due to its inadequate level of development and engagement against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and urges the country’s authorities to protect its fisheries resources. According to the EU Commission, “in Sierra Leone legal texts governing fisheries are outdated and sanctions fail to deter illegal operators operating internationally under the flag of Sierra Leone, without the fisheries authorities’ knowledge. In addition, the number of licensed vessels exceeds the available resources and authorities fail to monitor or control their waters.”
Innovative international agreement against illegal fishing in force in June
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing will be much more difficult from now on thanks to the imminent entry into force of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), states the Organization the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FAO announced that once the necessary threshold has been reached, with 30 member countries that have formally deposited their adhesion instruments, the countdown has begun for the entry into force of this innovative international treaty. The first international treaty in the world aimed specifically at combating IUU fishing will become an international law, which is binding, on June 5.
Gambia: Fisheries Ministry Calls for Concerted Efforts to Curb IUU
All Africa, 19/01/2016
The Minister of Fisheries, Lamin Nyabally has stressed the need for concerted efforts to be put in place to avert and stop the practice of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) in The Gambia. The practice of IUU, he said, is a serious crime, it poses a threat to the large stocks of fish in Gambian waters. Minister Nyabally was presiding over the opening of a five-day retreat/planning meeting on Thursday at Tendaba Camp in Kiang Central District, Lower River Region. The Minister of Lands and Regional Government, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, NBR Governor And staff of the Fisheries Ministry among other dignitaries attended the meeting.
Trade tools to tackle IUU fishing
This article outlines the trade tools that are currently being deployed to tackle black market fishing activities. It also makes recommendations as to how these can be used more effectively to tackle the major problem of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The author explains that measures which impose stringent import documentation, certification, or traceability requirements, regulate transhipment, or prohibit the trade in relevant fish products can effectively tackle IUU fishing. In other words, effective regulatory oversight and implementation of measures to address these activities is essential to avoid major adverse implications of this problem. However, such regulations are likely to affect the existing conditions of trade between countries, and in turn have implications at the WTO level.
Cabo Verde approves legislation
Cabo Verde has approved a statute – the National Action Plan to Prevent Illegal Fishing – which aims to ensure the long term conservation and sustainable exploration of the living resources and marine ecosystems. Foreign fishing vessels will be required to apply for prior authorisation to enter or use Cabo Verde’s (Cape Verde’s) ports and to land or transfer fishing catches. Démis Lobo spokesman for the Cape Verdean Cabinet said that the legislation is in line with the “Port State Measures,” to be introduced by countries with port facilities, adopted by the United Nations Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in November 2009. Lobo also said that most of the measures contained in the National Action Plan to Prevent Illegal Fishing were already included and developed in current legislation.
PNG announces new measures to control IUU fishing
Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Mao Zeming announced that PNG vessels shall no longer be allowed to carry out fishing activities in the high sea areas in the Eastern Pacific due to the serious concerns over illegal unreported unregulated (IUU) fishing. Fishing activities are prohibited in areas beyond waters under the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA) vessel day scheme. The fishing activity in those areas resulted in increased effort and over supply to Asian canners contributing to depressed fish price, lost revenues from access and domestic catch. On the subject of the issuance of yellow card by the European Union on the lack of compliance and not using laws to combat IUU fishing, Minister Zeming highlighted: “The impact of yellow card on Pacific Island countries in recent years is a concern and need to be addressed.”
Barbados & SVG agree on maritime boundaries
Prime Ministers of Barbados Freundel Stuart and PM of St Vincent and the Grenadine sDr Ralph Gonsalves have signed an agreement that establishes the limits of their maritime boundaries, in order to combat the detrimental practice of illegal fishing in neighbouring countries’ waters. It also aims to adress trade in contraband goods smuggled by fishermen.Prime Minister Stuart said, “We need to find a solution to this problem [of illegal fishing]. Of course, Prime Minister Gonsalves made the point that our fishermen have had no problems with St Vincent and the Grenadines and his businessmen [trading in] illegal agricultural products have not had major problems with Barbados until they get here.” PM Gonsalves explained that first-time offenders might have part of their catch confiscated; repeated breaches risk losing the entire catch and third party vessels would be subject to different rules. The PM also gave the assurance that security officials would not confiscate any Caribbean fisherman’s boat since this would hurt the person’s livelihood.
More countries committing to combat IUU fishing
A growing number of countries are ratifying an international agreement to combat illegal fishing, fueling interest in how best to implement the instrument. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is estimated to strip between $10 billion USD and $23 billion USD from the global economy, and fundamentally undermines the way fish stocks are managed globally. Since 2009, FAO has been working with its members to broker an Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. The agreement shall come into force when 25 countries have ratified (or acceded to the agreement). Thus far, only 12 countries have done so. The Agreement aims to promote collaboration between fishermen, port authorities, coast guards and navies to strengthen inspections and control procedures at ports and on vessels. Importantly, it also allows states to prevent the landings of catches derived from IUU fishing by vessels regardless of the flag they fly.
Spanish association demands fair competition in canned tuna market
ANFACO-CECOPESCA calls for EU action to follow the lead of the he effective fight pursued by Spain to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It argues that other EU Member States should also ensure that their authorities carry out steady and rigorous control of regulations. This should not merely deal with IUU activity, but also include IUU fishery resources, which are either directly or indirectly traded in the EU market post-processing. Currently, the EU is the biggest market in the world for sea products and canned tuna remains one of the most consumed products. In light of the significant increase of imports from third countries, ANFACO-CECOPESCA recalls the importance of a level playing field in the canned tuna market in the EU to ensure fair competition, positively impact employment and sustainable development of the fisheries sector within the EU.
Spain and Curaçao have signed a framework agreement for technical cooperation to strengthen the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The agreement provides that both sides shall share data relevant to combating IUU fishing, including on tools used for control and inspection of fishing activities. There is also a training component to the agreement, whereby fisheries inspectors will receive both theoretical and practical training. Spain is one of the leading countries taking active steps to combat IUU fishing and has been involved in a number of international cooperation activities (e.g. Operation Sparrow). The framework agreement also makes reference to transparency and cooperative surveillance protocols, license verification procedures, support to the global register of vessels by FAO and reference is made to the TRIP project which aims to points out eminent risks in the fishing industry.
The Jamaican House of Representatives is expected to start debating the new Fisheries Bill, which shall amend the existing Fisheries Industry Act. Discussions will be held on increasing fines for breaching the provisions. Some fines are expected to increase as much as 3,000% for illegally obtaining fish. Similar increases have been included for unlawfully removing, taking away or having in possession any boat, fish pot, nets, or other fishing equipment belonging to “some other person”, as well as for destroying, damaging, displacing, or altering the position of these items. However, there is an outstanding issue of unregistered fishing vessels and lack of licenses. In a recent audit, , there were 21,937 registered fishers, but only 3,091 or 14 % were licensed. In addition, of 6,411 fishing vessels registered, only 105 or 2% were licensed.
Spanish government last Friday announced penalties that could reach more than €11 million against Spanish nationals, including companies involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. An EU coalition of three international NGOs, including Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana and WWF described the fines as a historic moment in the battle against IUU fishing and are calling on other EU member states to follow suit with their own nationals.
– Fiji’s Fishery Industry impresses ACP EU delegates
Delegates of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group visited Golden Ocean Fish Ltd factory in Suva and were able to witness first-hand how the company makes fish compliant for export. In 2012, Fiji did not have the relevant legal and policy framework to appropriately contribute to combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and received a yellow card warning to comply with the European Union’s IUU regulations or face the prospect of losing market access. Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests Inoke Wainiqolo said, “Fiji has two areas that we need to improve on which are our legislation as well as the number of people that are required to monitor the operations in the sea and well as our processes.” Fiji managed to comply with the EU standards last year and has been sharing its experience with other countries. Illegal fishing is estimated to cost the region up to $1.7 billion per year.
– Jamaica government using drones to tackle IUU fishing
Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries shall use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly called drones, to strengthen law enforcement initiatives aimed at curbing illicit fishing. Minister, Derrick Kellier, said that with the one-year drone pilot project now complete: “Our next step is to work closely with the Ministry of National Security, with a view to identifying and sourcing drones with longer endurance, so as to increase our reach as well as our law enforcement presence within the island’s maritime jurisdiction.” The drones are also expected to be pivotal in search and rescue missions for fisherfolk stranded or reported missing at sea. The country recorded net seafood imports totalling $135 million in 2014, compared to exports of $35 million in 2013, according to a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report. Mr Kellier attributes this to continued “drastic and rapid” decline in Jamaica’s marine fishery resources, due to poaching and environmental degradation, leading to an increased need for imports to meet fish demand.
– CRFM: unilateral trade & the fight against IUU fishing
e15initiative.0rg, June 2015
In the blog of the E15 initiative, Milton Naughton, Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) explains why illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains high on the international agenda, but also the disproportionate effects it has for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Naughton highlights that IUU fishing leads to economic losses and violations of sovereignty and maritime jurisdiction. These concerns lead to the signing of the Castries Declaration by 17 CRFM/Caricom countries to tackle the issue by establishing a broad policy framework on IUU fishing. Measures to enhance the effective management of fisheries are a prerequisite in this sector, but Naughton states that they should be complemented by stronger global and regional frameworks, and supported through international trade policy measures.
– Ghana: Together Against Illegal Fishing – First Task Force Meeting in West Africa
– Fishing for Fairness in Africa
The reformed Common Fisheries Policy (which came into force in January 2014) established a legal framework for EU vessels to fish outside European waters. Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) allow EU fleets to fish in foreign waters in accordance with scientific advice for surplus stocks that would otherwise go uncaught while providing a raft of benefits to that country. The European Union fleet operating off the coast of Africa consists of around 400 vessels. This is less than one per cent of the EU fleet.
Through SFPAs the EU provides financial assistance to partner countries to boost local fishing sectors and fishing governance, scientific research and contribute in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) in exchange for access rights. SFPAs are widely regarded as one of the most transparent agreements in the world.
In 2014, the budget for SFPAs was €68 million, of which 35 per cent was used to reinforce the governance of the fishery sector in the partner country. In addition, Europêche members operating within SFPAs guarantee local fishermen a salary at an International Labour Organisation (ILO) approved level. To ensure these benefits are felt, SFPAs also require EU ship-owners to employ local fishermen (up to 60 per cent of the crew in some agreements).
Further protection as part of an SFPA agreement comes in the form of rules preventing EU vessels from fishing within 12 miles of shore to avoid competition with local artisanal fishers. SFPA agreements also incentivise EU vessels to land their catch for processing in the partner country, thereby contributing to employment and the economic wellbeing of the country
– Fishy business in West African waters – and the bad guys are not always the usual suspects
Mail & Guardian, 29-05-2015
THE African Union declared 2015-2025 as the “Decade of African Seas and Oceans”. And not a moment too soon. West Africa is one of the most diverse, and economically important, fishing zones in the world; but it is also the area which has shown the highest levels of illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing activities in the world. West African waters, traditionally a fishermen’s paradise within the rich Canary Current Large Marine Ecosystem, which extends from northwest Africa to Guinea Bissau, are under threat with over 50% of resources labelled as “overfished”. One estimate from the OECD puts losses from the illegal catch alone at just under $1 billion annually. According to the Africa Progress Panel however, factoring in under-reporting and unregulated activity would increase the figure and West Africa alone could be losing as much as $1.3 billion annually. These figures understate the real social, economic and environmental costs of overfishing. Fisheries are crucial in West Africa in terms of livelihood and food security.
– Earth Observation, Fish and Food Security in Africa
“Satellites cannot observe fish directly but can contribute to sustainable fishing by providing continued and global monitoring of the marine environment” said Mr. Prendut Koonjoo, Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands of the Republic of Mauritius. Space-based and in situ Earth Observation data, coupled with other related data, provide information on ocean conditions and fish distribution dynamics in marine and coastal areas. Through the MESA Project, fishermen benefit from this type of technology to get information on the locations of potential fishing spots in five African Indian Ocean nations in the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and fourteen West African countries in the ECOWAS region. Fish represents 60% of total animal protein consumed in Ghana. More than 200 million Africans eat fish regularly. Fresh, but more often smoked, dried, or even as powder, fish is a source of dietary protein and micronutrients for many communities in Africa. Fish is also an accessible and affordable source of animal protein for many households in Africa. Nutritionally, fish is an important direct source of protein and micronutrients for millions of people in Africa. The Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) Project, through its regional implementing centres for marine thematic actions, Mauritius Oceanography Institute and University of Ghana, is providing improved Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) charts, to Ministries of Fisheries in the IOC and the ECOWAS regions.
Eunice Nuerkie Ofoli-Anum is a National Focal Point for the MESA Project in Ghana. She witnessed that the product and services of the MESA Project “tell us where exactly fish productivity is very high, where we can get more fish and specifically particular kind of fish. It really helped us, Ghanaians. The majority of Ghanaians depend on fish.” The MESA Project provides fishing vessel traffic information on fishing effort and activities of fishing vessels within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of countries. This service supports and helps curb widespread illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities in the IOC and ECOWAS regions. “Global losses due to Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) or ‘pirate fishing’ are estimated to be between US$ 10 billion and US $ 23.5 billion per year. West African waters are estimated to have the highest levels of IUU fishing in the world, representing up to 37 percent of the region’s catch” pointed out Madam Sherry Ayittey, the Minister for Fisheries in Ghana. On the 20th of May 2015, BBC also reported that “more than 70 Chinese vessels have been found fishing illegally off the coast of West Africa.”
Overfishing has already depleted fish stocks in China, and now we’ve revealed how Chinese owned and flagged fishing vessels are taking advantage of weak regulations to fish illegally – and at the expense of local artisanal fishers. If China wants to be a genuine friend of Africa, it should rein in companies that are damaging its reputation and evading local laws. And at the same time West African governments urgently need to strengthen governance and close loopholes that allow destructive fishing to take place. This report is the result of a two year investigation by Greenpeace East Asia and Greenpeace Africa into at least 74 fishing vessels owned and operated by four Chinese Distant Water Fishing (DWF) companies, exposed for fishing illegally in prohibited fishing grounds in West Africa and falsifying their gross tonnage. [download the report here]
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled in April that countries have responsibility for the actions of the fishing vessels they license, even when those boats operate abroad. The tribunal held that “flag states” have to take “due diligence” measures to ensure that the boats they license obey regulations in other countries. If not, the flag state can be taken to court by the country where its boats are fishing through illegal, underreported, or unregulated (IUU) means.
This means that the Gambia, for example, could take the European Union to court if a boat flying the German flag nets more than its allowed catch and the EU cannot demonstrate that it took measures to prevent such misconduct.
The tribunal made its ruling in the form of an advisory opinion responding to a request filed by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) in 2013. The commission manages fisheries and inter-state cooperation between the West African countries of Mauritania, Senegal, Cape Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
– IUU costs Gambia $10,000 annually
The Gambia encounters a gross loss of $10,000, approximately D500, 000 from prohibited and illegal fishing within the country’s marine waters every year. Hon. Lamin Nyabally, the secretary general, head of the Civil Service and minister of Presidential Affairs, explained that this is mainly caused by the use of prohibited fishing net sizes. He added that it is quite unfortunate that The Gambia, with all her abundant marine resources and its potential to bring robust development in the country, very few Gambians are exploiting those natural resources. SG Nyabally was speaking on day-four of President Jammeh’s nationwide agricultural tour at a meeting held in Medina Lamin Kanteh in the Central River Region (CRR) north. The ‘Dialogue with the people tour’ promotes the Vision 2016 set out by the Jameh government to make the Gambia a food self-sufficient nation by 2016.
– Ghana: New Partnership to Fight Against IUU Fishing in West Africa
The “Fisheries intelligence and MCS support in West Africa” initiative was presented at the last FCWC 7th ministerial conference held in December 2014. Funded by the Norwegian Development Agency Norad, the project is being implemented within the FCWC members States (Togo, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria) and aims to contribute to more effective governance of regional fisheries resources in West Africa through a reduction of illegal fishing.
The project aims to operationalize the FCWC recent Convention on Information Sharing and build on FCWC existing initiatives in the region. This new project will support regional collaboration; improve access to and use of fisheries intelligence, and strengthened MCS planning and operations.
– African Union develops strategy to tackle illegal wildlife trade
ICTSD, 1 May 2015
African heads of state, experts, and policymakers – gathered for the International Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa from April 27-30 in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo – made progress on advancing an Africa-wide draft strategy and related action plan to reduce and eliminate the illegal trade in wild animal and plant species. The draft strategy would target trafficking of the continent’s iconic mega-fauna such as rhinos and elephants, as well as clamp down on illegal fishing and timber trade.
The move comes off the back of increased international efforts to address the complex illegal wildlife trade challenge. Several ministerial level conferences have been held over the past two years in an attempt to better co-ordinate a global response in this area. (See BioRes, 17 February 2014) According to UN data, environmental crime could be worth up to US$213 billion a year, involving illicit trade in many of Africa’s natural resources. For example, the number of elephants killed for their ivory in Africa annually is in the range of 20,000 to 25,000, out of an estimated population of 420,000 to 650,000. Over 1000 rhinos were poached from South Africa last year to fuel an illegal trade in the species’ horn worth between US$63 to US$192 million. Unregulated charcoal trade is estimated to lead to annual losses of US$1.9 billion in African countries. Illegal fishing in Senegal alone resulted in losses of US$300 million in 2012 or two percent of the country’s GDP.
–The fight against illegal fishing: The EU’s role in a global challenge
Eszter Hidas, EU Policy Officer for WWF Smart Fishing Initiative’s Illegal Fishing project says that the EU has a great responsibility to demonstrate legal and sustainable seafood supply chains to its consumers. The EU should also ensure that its access to abundant seafood – 25% of the world’s seafood, almost 70% of which is imported into the EU means that the EU is the world’s largest seafood market – does not rob more vulnerable communities, of their own. IUU fish products currently cost between €9-21 billion annually, representing 11 to 26 million tonnes, or approximately 15 %, of world catches. Since EU illegal fishing regulation (IUU) entered into force in January 2010, the EU has been at the forefront of global efforts to address IUU fishing.
On 2nd April 2015, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea today delivered its Advisory Opinion on the Request submitted to the Tribunal by the Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission (SRFC) under article 138 of the Rules of the Tribunal. This is the first time in the history of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that an advisory opinion is being rendered by the full Tribunal.
– IUU costs Ghana $100m annually
Not only has overuse of unlawful fishing methods caused a decline in Ghana’s fish stock but this Ghana loses $100 million each year. Ghana’s fishing sector provides livelihood to about 10% of Ghanaians – approximately 4 million fishermen and their dependents – and provides a total revenue of about $1 billion for the government. Although fisheries is a key sector for poverty reduction in Ghana – employment and income, especially for youth, and also as a key provision of nutrients (some 60% of proteins come from fish sources) – the continued practice of illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing has important economic and social costs for Ghana. Some stakeholders align the current status quo to a reluctance of political will to tackle the issue, beyond the mere voluntary compliance and deterrence mechanisms that already exist. Without stronger long and short term measures that require enforcement, many fear the sector may even collapse.
– ACP Group push for fisheries subsidy reform at WTO
The African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of countries has tabled a series of elements that it says should define a potential WTO work programme on the Doha Round talks, according to a communication circulated by Barbados on the Group’s behalf earlier this month. Among other things, the ACP Group flags tackling fisheries subsides that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, as important to include in an agenda to conclude the global trade body’s long-running talks. Further disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector, the ACP Group says, should include enhanced transparency and notification requirements on fisheries subsidies, along with limiting and progressively phasing out this type of support. Regarding the latter, the communication lists, for instance, those subsidies provided to vessels undertaking fishing practices that significantly harm vulnerable marine ecosystems and habitats; subsidies provided to vessels engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; as well as subsidies provided to any fishing vessel or fishing activity affecting overfished stocks. The ACP Group also says that it remains committed “to explor[ing] broader disciplines” on fisheries subsidies provided that these incorporate “appropriate and effective” special and differential treatment (S&DT) provisions.
– Madagascar fisheries ravaged by foreign plunder
Owning one of the richest fishing stocks on the African continent, Madagascar is nowadays endangered by illegal, foreign fishing which threatens the livelihood of approximately 100.000 people across the country. Large Chinese, Thai and South Korean vessels steal fish in the Indian Ocean surrounding Madagascar. These foreign ships usually operate at night and they can hardly be tracked since they switch off their radio identification signals in order to sneak away from police patrols. The Madagascar Fisheries and Wildlife Commission declared that the fall in fish stocks represents a real issue for such a poor island and most fisherman are discouraged by this illegal, foreign fish exploitation. Madagascar has one of the world’s most precious marine species, which is now at risk. Furthermore, marine tourism is imperiled. Unfortunately, the government of Madagascar is too politically unstable to take the necessary measures and therefore unable to stop the foreign plunder. Therefore, many local fish workers end up joining the illegal fish trade.
– WWF welcomes US move against IUU fishing
The Unites States’ Administration’s illegal fishing and seafood fraud action plan has been commended by the WWF who believe that it “is a crucial win for the European Union and the global community”. EU Policy Officer for WWF’s Illegal Fishing programme, Eszter Hidas explained, “we expect that the plan announced on the other side of the Atlantic will further boost the EU’s strong action to combat illegal fishing, which is estimated to cost between EUR 8 billion and EUR 19 billion annually. The world’s two biggest fish importers seem now determined to close their doors to any illegal fish product.” IUU fishing represents 11 million to 26 million tonnes of catch, which is equivalent to 13-31% of global catch. In addition, Michele Kuruc, vice president of ocean policy at WWF-US remarked that the action plan marks “a decisive shift” in US policy, and that “the plan has the right elements to ensure that seafood comes from legal sources, including common-sense requirements for catch information and product traceability.”
– Action plan to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud
The US Government has released an action plan consisting of aggressive steps that federal agencies will take both domestically and internationally to put an end to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud. The plan follows a series of recommendations drawn up by the Presidential Task Force and the Departments of Commerce and State. It identifies actions that will strengthen enforcement, create and expand partnerships with state and local governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations, and create a risk-based traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into US commerce.The action plan also reflects the Administration’s commitment to supporting sustainable fisheries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which includes four of the top 15 global producers of marine fisheries products by volume. US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews underlined “the steps the United States has taken to be a leader in environmental stewardship are paying off. However, our nation’s fisheries remain threatened by illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud, which negatively affects our markets. The Task Force’s new strategic plan will aggressively implement recommendations to guarantee that US fishing fleets remain competitive in the global economy.”
– Inspection of companies for alleged link with illegal fishing boats
Sparrow operation, the fish inspection services of the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) is inspecting the headquarters of several companies for alleged links with vessels involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. In addition, many of these companies are already included on the list of illegal fishing in the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). The examination involves investigation into numerous physical and electronic documentation.
An operation of this extent is unprecedented in the European Union (EU); placing Spain at the forefront of the fight against illegal fishing at international level. In addition to this, Spain leads the implementation of the Council Regulation 1005/2008 the European Union (EU) to prevent and deter illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which prohibits national community members their link with vessels listed for illegal fishing. It is expected that new sanction procedures will come out of the current investigation , and fines could amount to €600,000, as well as loss of permits if convicted of IUU fishing.
– Fiji resort alleges inaction on illegal fishing
The Leleuvia Resort, on an island south of Levuka, has repeatedly reported activities of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing to the Tourism Polica and fisheries authorities. In this radio interview, Resort manager, Colin Philp explains why he think his claim is falling on deaf ears, despite photo evidence of the activities, including names of boats involved. Philip explains that during the full moon, divers come to take the Beche-de-mer – creole for sea cucumber – disturbing the reef and his business.
– S. Korea moves to root out IUU fishing in W. Africa
The South Korean is driving forward a plan eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by South Korean fishing boats in the West Africa region. The government has earmarked 9.9 billion won (US$8.99 million) for vessels that voluntarily halt fishing activities in waters off West Africa and retire their aged vessels there. In 2013 South Korea revised its law on deep-sea fishing and raised the maximum fine for IUU fishing from 30 million won to 200 million won, along with an additional fine of up to three times the value of catch from illegal fishing. South Korea was designated an illegal fishing state by the European Union, primarily for the activities carried out by vessels in the West African region. After a series of measures taken by the government, it may be removed from the IUU shortlist by the EU. It has already been removed from the shortlist by the US government. Currently, the number of South Korean ships operating in West Africa has fallen from 45 to 27, and only 11 are now actually operating in the region. Additionally, deep-sea fishing will only be allowed in countries with which South Korea has a formal fisheries agreement
– Illegal fishing in MSC certified fishery denounced
An international organization claims to have detected illegal fishing activities in a nephrops fishery, which was certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
– New guidance to help industry avoid ‘pirate’ fishing products
In a detailed joint ‘Advisory Note’ launched today, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and WWF-UK inform UK industry, retailers and brands of the risks associated with Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) or ‘pirate’ fishing.
– New Spanish Law to Fight Pirate Fishing
Environmental groups have welcomed a new Spanish law which will fight pirate fishing through imposing stronger penalties on Spanish citizens involved in pirate fishing anywhere in the world. The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF applaud Spain’s new fisheries law and call on the rest of Member States to approve similar laws in order to effectively fight illegal fishing globally. The new Spanish fisheries law 33/2014 is the translation into Spanish legislation of the EU’s illegal, unreported and unregulated(IUU) fishing regulation, which requires all EU member States to take action against citizens and companies found to be involved in any IUU fishing activities anywhere in the world.
– EU warns four more states in fight to end illegal fishing
Illegally caught fish comprise a significant portion of both the global catch and of seafood imports, including to the world’s leading fish-consuming markets. To counter this, the EU enacted strong fisheries laws and in 2012 began issuing warnings to – and imposing sanctions on – states which are accused of failing to comply with those regulations. The European Commission issued warnings to four states – St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu – for alleged shortcomings in fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The warnings, or yellow cards, give the states six months to address EU criticisms of governance of their fishing fleets and their waters. Failure to do so could result in sanctions, including a full ban on importing seafood to the EU. “We applaud the Commissioner’s commitment to preventing illegally caught fish from entering the EU,” said Tony Long, director of Pew’s ending illegal fishing project. “However, small island developing states often have limited resources and so expertise and capacity-building is vital to ensuring their full compliance with the law.” He added.
– Spanish Govt, industry and EJF team up to combat pirate fishing
The Spanish Secretaria General de Pesca, the Organización de Productores Asociados de Grandes Atuneros Congeladores (OPAGAC) and the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement a new joint pilot project allowing the Spanish Government to monitor fishing vessels operating in West Africa more effectively. The ground-breaking pilot project, which began in November 2014, will equip Spanish-flagged and Spanish-owned fishing vessels with observation systems that will make it possible to monitor the fleet for unidentified or suspicious fishing activity. Information will be transmitted in real-time to the Spanish Government’s Fisheries Monitoring Centre in Secretaria General de Pesca, Madrid, where it will be analysed by fisheries inspectors with additional support from EJF representatives who specialise in the surveillance of fishing vessels. The aim of this new project is to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) or ‘pirate’ fishing in West Africa. The pilot project is aligned with the Council Regulation (EC) No 1005/2008 to establish a community system to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing, supporting the recognised role of masters in the sightings of possible IUU activities, which can eventually lead to banning imports of fishing products from illegal origins. The identities of the boats involved will not be made public in order to guarantee confidentiality and ensure that any legal processes arising from evidence gathered are not jeopardised.
The Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED), comprised of Ministers responsible for Agriculture from across the Caribbean Community, has confirmed the Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy as a final policy document for the Community. The Caribbean Community Common Fisheries Policy (CCCFP) is aimed at fostering greater harmonisation across the Caribbean in the sustainable management and development of the region’s fisheries and aquaculture resources, with special emphasis on promoting the most efficient use of shared resources while aiming to improve food security and reduce poverty in the region. The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has said that CARICOM policies, once authorized by COTED, are binding on the countries. At its meeting held in Suriname last Friday, 10 October 2014, COTED gave its stamp of approval to the CCCFP and said that the newly authorized policy should be applied by Member States as far as possible. The formal signing of the CCCFP by member countries is expected to commence in the months ahead. The recommendation to COTED came out of the 5th Special Meeting of the CRFM’s Ministerial Council, held on Thursday, 9 October 2014, in Paramaribo, Suriname, coinciding with Caribbean Week of Agriculture. On that occasion, the CRFM’s Executive Director, Milton Haughton, presented a paper on First CARICOM Strategic Plan (2015 – 2019). The CARICOM Secretariat and all other CARICOM Institutions along with the CARICOM countries will all be following a single plan for the first time following its approval by the Heads of Government in July 2014.