WWF embraces EU catch certificates
The World Wildlife Fund’s Scotland office on 1 January welcomed the European Union’s new rules to crack down on illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
Under the new rules, all companies exporting seafood to EU must show that the product was harvested legally.
WWF estimates that IUU fishing costs the global seafood industry between USD 10 billion and 23.5 billion (EUR 7 billion to 16.3 billion) annually, representing 11 to 26 million metric tons.
Illegal fishing practices also amount to about EUR 10 billion (USD 14.4 billion) annually, and, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, pirate fishing can represent up to 30 percent of total catches in certain major fisheries.
Species at risk from IUU fishing include bluefin tuna in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean, bigeye tuna in the Pacific, Chilean sea bass in the Southern Ocean, Atlantic cod and Alaskan pollock from the Arctic and South African abalone.
“Pirate fishing is a serious global problem and is having a devastating impact on the marine environment. Often a professionally organized criminal activity, illegal fishing is a major contributor to the depletion of global fish stocks and undermines action designed to help stocks recover and protect other marine wildlife,” said Richard Dixon, WWF Scotland director.
Illegal fishing also represents a major loss of revenue, particularly to some of the poorest countries in the world where dependency on fisheries for food and livelihoods is high,” he added. “Thanks to this crackdown, consumers can have greater confidence they are not unwittingly supporting illegal fishing and the destruction of the world’s oceans. As the largest market for fish in the world it is right that Europe takes a lead in this area.”