Ban fishing vessels from using flags of convenience for quick IUU impact, says campaigner

Published on
July 11, 2018

Steve Trent, the founder and executive director of the Environmental Justice Foundation, has an idea for reducing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

“Make market entry conditional on unique vessel IDs,” he said at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Barcelona, Spain in June. “Imagine if Barcelona cars had no number plate, it’d be chaos. That’s how it is on the sea.” 

Trent said he believes that key markets could immediately exert a huge influence on ending IUU fishing by denying access to any fishery vessels flying flags of convenience. 

“It’s ridiculous that you can go online and buy a flag of Mongolia and fly it,” Trent said. “You have to really question anyone who buys seafood that comes from a vessel flying a Mongolian flag of convenience!”

Trent said a vessel’s origin could be easily tracked with a registry of vessels. 

“This should be part of a risk-based approach to policing IUU. It’s a cheap and effective way to do it, and the technology is here now.”

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