Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

IUU fishing an issue that has a massive damaging effect on socially and economically important fish stocks, and on the wider environment. IUU fishing occurs worldwide and there is a strong correlation between the effectiveness of governance arrangements, transparency and the level of illegal fishing. 

Alongside the obvious economic incentives, IUU activities are facilitated by a number of well-documented shortcomings in national and international controls, including Flags of Convenience; insufficient Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS), Ports of Convenience, and uncontrolled at-sea transhipment, among other incentives.

IUU Catch Documentation Schemes: since 2010, various countries and trading blocks have limited the access to their markets, only to consignments accompanied by a catch certificate validated by the competent authorities of the flag state of the vessel that harvested the fish.

This document certifies that the catches concerned have been made in accordance with applicable laws, regulations and international conservation and management measures. While straightforward in principle, the operational implications of this scheme are multiple and deep, in function of the complexity of the value chain of different seafood products, requiring substantial efforts by the authorities from flag and port states as to be effective. 

I have been working under worldwide programmes on the practical implementation of the IUU Catch Documentation Schemes (particularly the EU one) and gained transferable experience in this topic.