Ending Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU)
Fish represents an important part of the diet of many EU citizens. The EU is the largest importer of seafood products in the world, consuming one fourth of the world’s seafood, almost 70% of which is imported. Thousands of kilos of fish enter the European market every day. But do we know where and how the fish on our plate was caught?
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing has become a global problem that depletes fish stocks, damages marine ecosystems, puts legitimate fishers at an unfair disadvantage, and jeopardises the livelihoods of some of the world’s most vulnerable communities.
The latest official studies show that IUU fishing globally is estimated to cost between €8 billion and €19 billion annually, representing 11 million to 26 million tonnes of catch. Up to 30% of the global caught seafood that arrives on our plates comes from illegal, unreported and unregulated sources.
Therefore, it is evident that combatting IUU fishing and establishing effective seafood traceability should be a high EU priority. As a starting point, the EU IUU Regulation was adopted in September 2008, and came into force on 1 January 2010. However, to date seafood sourced from criminal activities still enters the European market, due to lack of implementation of the regulation, and policy gaps in the legislation.
What do we do to stop illegal fishing?
Policy Officer, Transparent Seas Project
WWF European Policy Office,
+32 2 761 04 25
WHAT IS IUU FISHING?
- Illegal fishing: conducted by vessels or countries that are part of a fisheries organisation but violate the rules, or operate in waters without permission
- Unreported catches: caught by vessels without reporting to relevant authorities
- Unregulated fishing: conducted by vessels under the flag of a country they are not part of, or not part of a fishery organisation