The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO says unregulated fishing, abandoned or lost fishing gear are damaging marine ecosystems across the globe.
According to the UN body, wth the health of oceans at stake, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has quickly become a monumental problem.
“The term “IUU fishing” is used for any fishing activities that operate outside of the law. There are many types of IUU fishing, for example, fishing without license or authorization, not accurately reporting the fish caught, fishing in prohibited areas and catching or selling prohibited species. IUU fishing happens any time fishers and their vessels do not meet the requirements established by the regional, national and international laws governing the fishing industry.
IUU fishing not only robs the world’s oceans of 26 million tonnes of seafood annually, bringing financial losses to a staggering US$23 billion a year, but it also severely affects the livelihoods of fishers, exacerbates poverty and contributes heavily to food insecurity,” the FAO stated.
It added that international collaborations and new technology helps in making strides towards tracking IUU fishing activities through the FAO Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels.
“The international community is increasing transparency in the fisheries sector and enhancing the traceability of the vessels and fish products. Using satellite-collected data, coastal authorities can determine which boats are practicing illegal fishing and alert appropriate authorities. Strong policies help to ensure fishers only catch permitted species from authorized areas,” it explained.