Title

The Cape Town Agreement

Author Information

Pew Charitable Trusts

Date of Publication

2017 12:00 AM

Security Theme

IUU Fishing

Keywords

IUU Fishing, IUU fishing, international agreements, policy paper, sustainability, global fishing stocks, high seas

Description

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing threatens the sustainability of the world’s fisheries. But it is far more than just an environmental hazard. Illegal fishing is now widely associated with crimes such as piracy, human trafficking, and arms and narcotics smuggling. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and International Labour Organization (ILO) have acknowledged the links between IUU fishing and crimes involving the safety and welfare of crews.1 Pressure on global fish stocks is at an all-time high. Fleets can now pursue and catch fish in virtually every part of the world’s oceans, resulting in too many fishing vessels chasing a dwindling number of fish. Overfished stocks lead to reduced catches and lower profits. In response, some operators turn to fishing illegally—without proper licenses or authorizations, or in protected areas—to maximize profits. Cracking down on this illicit behaviour is especially challenging in the absence of requirements to identify and track vessels. Permanent unique identifiers, such as the IMO number—which provide information on a ship’s origin, history, and operational status—are critical for discerning vessels. In addition, without a requirement for mandatory location reporting, such as automatic identification systems or vessel monitoring systems, authorities are unable to differentiate the good actors from the bad. The combination of these gaps enables criminals to operate with a low risk of being caught.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

The Cape Town Agreement

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing threatens the sustainability of the world’s fisheries. But it is far more than just an environmental hazard. Illegal fishing is now widely associated with crimes such as piracy, human trafficking, and arms and narcotics smuggling. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and International Labour Organization (ILO) have acknowledged the links between IUU fishing and crimes involving the safety and welfare of crews.1 Pressure on global fish stocks is at an all-time high. Fleets can now pursue and catch fish in virtually every part of the world’s oceans, resulting in too many fishing vessels chasing a dwindling number of fish. Overfished stocks lead to reduced catches and lower profits. In response, some operators turn to fishing illegally—without proper licenses or authorizations, or in protected areas—to maximize profits. Cracking down on this illicit behaviour is especially challenging in the absence of requirements to identify and track vessels. Permanent unique identifiers, such as the IMO number—which provide information on a ship’s origin, history, and operational status—are critical for discerning vessels. In addition, without a requirement for mandatory location reporting, such as automatic identification systems or vessel monitoring systems, authorities are unable to differentiate the good actors from the bad. The combination of these gaps enables criminals to operate with a low risk of being caught.