RFMOs urged to share info on IUU vessels

The United States has joined more than 50 countries in urging regional fishery management organizations (RFMOs) to better track vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing for tuna, swordfish, shark and other highly migratory species. 

This action is a first step toward getting the nations that make up the five RFMOs managing highly migratory species in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans to share information about IUU vessels, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Friday. Sharing information about IUU vessels across the RFMOs means an IUU vessel previously listed in only one region would have more difficulty avoiding detection by moving to another region.

“Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing undermines the sustainability of fisheries and the ability of fishermen who abide by the rules to make a decent living,” said NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. “Sharing information on IUU vessels across oceans will strengthen enforcement and prevent legal and sustainable fishing operations from being disadvantaged in the global marketplace.”

Information sharing was a key goal for the NOAA-led U.S. delegation to the third joint meeting of the world’s RFMOs. Last week’s meeting, known as Kobe III because it is the third in a series of meetings that began in Kobe, Japan, in 2007, was hosted by NOAA in La Jolla, Calif.

Annual global economic losses due to IUU fishing are estimated to be as high as USD 23 billion.


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