What is IUU fishing?

Illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing refers to activities that contravene national laws and regulations, the conservation and management measures of Regional Fishery Management Organisations (RFMOs) and, where relevant, international law. Behaviours include activities such as fishing without a valid licence, misreporting catch data, falsifying or concealing a fishing vessel’s identity or itinerary, or obstructing the work of inspectors or enforcers.

Being frequently covert in nature, IUU fishing activities plunder the ocean, weaken economies, deplete fish stocks, and undermine conservation and management efforts. These practices directly affect law-abiding operators that compete for the same stock whilst bearing more of the regulatory and financial burden. IUU fishing also jeopardises the livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable communities and enables systemic abuses of human rights.

While the true scale of IUU fishing is difficult to calculate, losses attributable to it are estimated to be in the region €10 billion annually.

What is the EU IUU fishing Coalition?

The Environmental Justice Foundation, Oceana, The Nature Conservancy, The Pew Charitable Trusts and WWF are working together to combat IUU fishing and improve transparency in the fisheries sector. The Pew Charitable Trusts is excluded from work on legislation that requires lobbying.

The European Union (EU), as the largest trader of fishery and aquaculture products in the world in terms of value, has invested significant effort into addressing key challenges in regional and global ocean governance. Since 2010, the EU IUU Regulation has been particularly effective in driving fisheries reforms globally.

The Coalition works to ensure the effective and harmonised implementation of this Regulation. With its work, the Coalition assists the EU and its Member States with improving measures that prevent seafood products linked with IUU fishing from entering the EU market and works to strengthen the EU’s external fleet Regulation.

Further multilateral action is needed to put an end to IUU fishing. Championing the most ambitious international Regulation on IUU fishing in the world and with the largest seafood market globally, the EU is in a unique position to set an example and inspire action by other nations, as well as regional fisheries bodies.The Coalition promotes some of EU’s best practices on ocean governance and fisheries transparency in other regions, such as East Asia, Africa, and Latin America, by ensuring that the EU effectively supports policy change through its influence as the world’s largest seafood market.


The images on this website appear for the purposes of illustrating fishing and related operations only and are not intended to convey or imply, directly or indirectly, that any illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities had taken place or were otherwise associated with these images. 

The EU IUU fishing Coalition is grateful to all of those who have contributed articles to this website. The opinions expressed within individual articles are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Coalition.
If you would like to respond to a specific article or make an original contribution to IUUWatch.eu, we would be pleased to hear from you. Please send your comments or suggestions to info@iuuwatch.eu.