WWF: Illegal Fishing a Global Problem
A new report from the World Wildlife Fund, "Illegal Fishing in Arctic Waters," states that illegal fishing for Atlantic cod and walleye pollock in the Arctic threatens the health of important fisheries worldwide, decreasing fish's abilities to adapt, survive and cope with climate change.
The report analyzes Barents Sea cod and Russian walleye pollock catches, which account for about one quarter of the world's whitefish supply.
The WWF report states that according to Norwegian government figures, more than $350 million in black market cod was caught in the Barents Sea in 2005. Due to industry, government and NGO (non-governmental organization) efforts, illegal cod landings have been cut by 50 percent, but problems remain for walleye pollock. Reports show that in the Sea of Okhotsk, illegal landings can reach values of $70 million annually.
"Illegal fishing in the Arctic is a serious transnational crime crossing European, African, Asian and American borders," said Dr. Neil Hamilton, director of WWF International's Arctic Program. "Cheats are putting short-term profits ahead of the long-term survival of Arctic fisheries."