Source: The Diplomat
Author: Sally Yozell*
Source: EJF, PEW, Oceana, TNC and WWF
The 12th Asia-Europe Meeting and the 9th Republic of Korea-EU bilateral summit, both held this week in Brussels, offer crucial opportunities for Europe and Asia – both giants of the fishing industry – to work together to rebuild global marine resources. Increasing transparency on fishing activity is a vital step to safeguard our oceans to protect the rights of legitimate fishers and communities that rely on them for nutrition and livelihoods. To achieve that, the Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Nature Conservancy and WWF are calling for stronger legislation and country leadership to enhance transparency in fisheries management.
Overfishing is still a major threat to the world’s fish stocks, with many on the brink of collapse. 33% of fish stocks are being exploited at unsustainable levels, with a further 60% considered maximally sustainably fished. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing only exacerbates these alarming figures and undermines any efforts to manage global fisheries sustainably. It is key that major markets, such as the EU and Asia, or any flag state whose fishing vessels operate in the global oceans, view overfishing and IUU fishing as global challenges that need global solutions.
South Korea is a good example of a country in transition. It has a large distant water fleet that was plagued by allegations of IUU fishing. In response, the country developed and implemented bold policies to monitor and control its vessels. 2015 marked a decisive turning point after which all Korean fishing vessels were required to have vessel tracking devices and strict penalties for serious infringements were introduced. Continue reading Global partners for global challenges: The need for European and Asian fishing nations to prioritise transparency
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.
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.
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