Month: September 2018


Source: EJF *

The European Commission is currently considering allowing subsidies for the construction of new fishing vessels in the European Union’s outermost regions – the most remote European territories. Such subsidies could drive overfishing, depleting essential marine resources and threatening food security, and there is no evidence that they provide any significant benefits to local communities, a group of NGOs has said.

More than 40 environmental NGOs are urging the European Commission to honour the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy and not introduce any provisions that would allow for the reintroduction of subsidies for the construction of new fishing vessels.

Overall, 29% of the planet’s fish stocks that have been assessed are now over-fished and 61% are fully exploited, according to the latest report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Fishing supports the livelihoods of coastal communities around the world, and marine resources are often an essential part of local food security. This is especially true of poorer, developing areas, such as the outermost regions of the EU. Managing these fisheries in a sustainable manner, to ensure that fish stocks remain healthy, is crucial.

Continue reading NGOs criticize European Commission’s proposal for subsidies for new vessels in EU’s outermost regions


Source: The Maritime Executive

Thailand has become one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to publish a full list of all its registered and licensed fishing vessels, alongside a watchlist containing vessels prohibited from fishing. Making such information freely available is a crucial step in eradicating illegal fishing and human rights abuse in the industry, and marks Thailand out in the region for taking this progressive step, says the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).

Much of the fishing industry is at best opaque, and at worst operates under a veil of secrecy, says the EJF. Illegal operators aim to create as much confusion as possible around their identities, escaping detection by changing vessel names, concealing ownership, flying different flags or removing ships from registers entirely.

The lists have been published in an attempt to grapple with these problems. The Thai Marine Department website now lists 10,742 vessels eligible to fish in Thai waters. This list contains vital information such as each vessel’s registration number, owner’s name, and port of registration. Thailand’s fishing fleet has been an unknown quantity, with vessel figures varying hugely depending on the data source. For instance, while government statistics for 2015 put the number of registered vessels at 18,089, other government sources declared the figure closer to 57,000.

Continue reading Thailand Publishes Fishing Vessels Lists


Source: RUSI

Author:  Veerle Nouwens* and Cathy Haenlein**

China has reportedly started cracking down on its distant water fleet (DWF), namely, its fleet of vessels that fish in areas outside the country’s domestic waters. The move has come as a surprise to fishing companies and the counter-illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing community alike given the country’s previous apparent reluctance to tackle illegal activity in its domestic fishing industry. However, further momentum can be seen through the recently signed EU-China Blue Partnership for the Oceans, which includes a commitment to tackling IUU fishing. If China’s efforts are sincere, they should be applauded. However, the potential knock-on effects of such a move should also be considered. First, how will China tackle IUU fishing where maritime borders are disputed? Secondly, how might China’s crackdown on Chinese fishers impact Taiwanese fishers abroad at a time of heightened tension between China and Taiwan?

China’s role in the global IUU fishing problem is well-documented. According to a 2018 study by Global Fishing Watch, China’s fishing operations are the world’s largest and farthest-ranging. Greenpeace estimates that China’s DWF is comprised of 2,500 vessels; in 2016, Chinese-flagged vessels were seized off South Africa and Argentina, among other locations. These represent only a fraction of the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) worldwide in which Chinese-flagged vessels operate illegally. In addition to poor controls in these countries, ChinaDialogue Ocean notes that enablers of IUU fishing by China’s DWF lie in rapid growth and poor regulation, weak global enforcement, the provision of fuel subsidies by the Chinese government, and inadequate port checks on incoming vessels and catch.

Continue reading Cracking Down on China’s Distant Water Fishing Fleet: What Impacts Closer to Home?


Source: SeaFoodSource

Author: Nicki Holmyard

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. The report estimated that by developing and protecting Africa’s fisheries, around USD 3 billion (EUR 2.6 billion) could be generated in additional revenue and some 300,000 jobs created.

Continue reading African countries fighting back against illegal fishing


Source: Undercurrent News

Japan’s Fisheries Research and Education Agency (FRA) will help Global Fishing Watch and the Australian National Center for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong, in New South Wales, with their investigation of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Following a memorandum of understanding signed on Sept. 3, the groups have agreed to share “relevant open public data and analytical methodologies, including vessel movement data, catch data and satellite imagery; collaborate on relevant research activities, and publish research outcomes to advance international understanding on IUU fishing and its impacts,” according to a press release.

They intend to analyze night-time satellite imagery, the groups say, as squid jigging most often takes place at night, using bright overhead lights to attract the squid. Continue reading New research partnership formed to investigate illegal fishing in North Pacific