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Fairer Fishing?

The Impact on Developing Countries of the European Community Regulation on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fisheries

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This Economic Paper considers the likely effects on African, Caribbean and Pacific countries of the European Union’s Directive on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, planned to be implemented from 2010. It will be difficult for developing countries to meet the requirements of the directive at time when many aspects of globalisation are supportive of IUU fishing. The authors argue that even though measures to combat IUU fishing are welcome, developing countries will require comprehensive technical and financial resources to effectively implement this directive, otherwise a disproportionate burden of global efforts to combat IUU fishing will fall on them.

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International Concerns Regarding IUU Fishing

Successive FAO reports have demonstrated the serious state of decline of most commercially harvested fish stocks. In this context, IUU fishing has been identified as ‘one of the most severe problems affecting world fisheries’ and as the ‘main obstacle in achieving sustainable fisheries in both areas under national jurisdiction and the high seas’. A study by the Marine Resource Assessment Group Ltd (MRAG) in 2006 estimated that the total loss to IUU fishing in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Somalia, Seychelles and Papua New Guinea amounted to US$372 million, representing 19 per cent of the combined total value of their catches and 23 per cent of their declared value. A follow-up study in April 2008 by MRAG and the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre estimated that the global losses from illegal fishing in 17 FAO statistical areas is between US$10 billion and US$23 billion annually, representing about 11.06 million to 25.91 million tonnes of fish. Apart from its economic and environmental repercussions, IUU fishing has also been equated to ‘stealing food from some of the poorest of the world’ and is known to cause the displacement of legitimate fishing communities.

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