The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), the independent state agency responsible for the regulation of the sea-fisheries and the seafood production sectors, co-hosted a workshop with the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) in Dublin recently as part of EFCA’s efforts to prevent illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The workshop, which was attended by fisheries inspectors from several member states, focused on developing technical inspection and detection capacity across the EU. Global losses from IUU fishing are estimated to be between $10bn and $24bn per year – equivalent to nearly 20% of the value of legitimate and reported catches.
Dr Susan Steele, Chair of the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, said: “IUU fishing is one of the greatest threats facing the fishing industry. It jeopardises the development of sustainable fisheries across the world and has serious consequences for food security. Unless it is stopped it has the potential to cause significant damage to the many coastal communities who rely on it for their livelihoods including in Ireland where the fishing industry supports over 11,000 jobs. As regulators, we are committed to the robust enforcement of the controls available to us to help detect and deter IUU fishing within Ireland’s EEZ and we are collaborating closely with EFCA to help improve detection capacity generally in member states.”
She added: “However, everyone in the supply chain has a role to play including importers who can ensure the goods they import have been legally caught. It may be difficult to distinguish between a legally and illegally obtained fish, however robust inspection processes and accurate paperwork will tell the tale.”
Improved supply chain traceability has been identified as being a key deterrent in helping to eliminate IUU fishing as it can help prevent illegal fish from entering the market.
As part of the two day workshop, the delegates visited Dublin Port where they learned about Ireland’s border control inspections for food imports including the procedures and processes followed in verifying the mandatory information on the documentation that must accompany all imports. The EU is the world’s largest import market for fish products, accounting for almost a quarter (24%) of total world trades in value.