International cooperation

11
Nov

Source: JapanTime

Japan and the United States plan to jointly offer training to maritime authorities of Pacific island nations to help them better crack down on illegal fishing within their exclusive economic zones, a Japanese government source said Saturday.

During a roughly three-week program in Japan, which will begin on Nov. 25, officials from 12 nations, including Palau, the Marshal Islands and Micronesia will learn how the Japan Coast Guard conducts policing and visit related facilities, according to the source.

Continue reading In training program, Japan, U.S. to help Pacific island nations counter illegal fishing

24
Oct

Source: EJF

EJF published a new report showing that the global fishing industry suffers from a shocking lack of transparency, allowing Illegal operators to create as much confusion as possible around their identities; escaping detection by changing vessel names; concealing ownership; flying different flags to avoid detection; or removing ships from registers entirely. This report lays out the ‘ten principles for global transparency in the fishing industry’. These simple, low-cost measures – which include publishing license lists and giving vessels unique numbers – are well within the reach of any country and can play a pivotal role in the battle against illegal fishing and human rights abuse in the sector.

Download the full report

 

17
Oct

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

25
Sep

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

19
Sep

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