Brussels, 2 October 2019
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for tens of billions of euros-worth of seafood every year, up to one in five fish sold at market globally. It depletes fish populations, threatens the resilience of our oceans, weakens economies, and steals from coastal communities who rely on fish for their livelihoods and food security. Illegal fishing often goes hand-in-hand with other crimes, either directly linked to the operations, such as tax evasion and money laundering, or indirectly, such as drugs smuggling, human trafficking or the trade in other illegal wildlife products.
Since 2010, the EU has taken significant steps to combat IUU fishing, and its policies and laws are arguably the most comprehensive and effective worldwide. Its most ambitious piece of legislation by far is the EU IUU Regulation, adopted in 2008 and introduced on 1 January 2010. The regulation has been instrumental in improving international ocean governance as well as fostering anti-IUU fishing measures in non-EU countries, and reducing imports of illegally sourced products to the EU market.
But this is not enough – IUU fishing still poses serious social, economic and environmental threats, and multilateral action is needed to put an end to it. Using its influence as a major flag and market state, the EU is in a unique position to set an example and prompt action by other market and flag states, as well as regional bodies around the world.
The European Parliament plays a key role in ensuring that the European Commission and Member States constantly strive to implement and improve the EU’s anti-IUU systems. It is also important that commitments to improve global fisheries governance are delivered on, as set out in the European Commission’s international ocean governance agenda.
Today’s event “EU leadership in the global fight against IUU fishing” is organised by the EU IUU Coalition and co-hosted by MEP Chris Davies, Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries . It presents an opportunity to discuss key challenges associated with combating IUU fishing, as well as to find ways in maintaining the EU’s leadership in the global fight against pirate fishing in the coming years. Through an introductory short film and interventions from EU and industry representatives, we aim to ensure that newly-elected Members of the European Parliament will prioritise the fight against illegal fishing on their political agenda.