Top 10 Countries Involved in Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released its 2013 Biennial Report to Congress on International Fishing Activities. There report can be obtained here.
The National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA’s fisheries arm, identified 10 countries with: (1) fishing vessels engaged in illegal unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2011 or 2012, or (2) ineffective measures to prevent the unintended catch of protected species in 2012.
The most commonly cited violation was finning of sharks and disposing their carcasses at sea.
Beel has read this fascinating report, so that you do not have to. Friends, please let Beel present these 10 countries and their more severe violations below.
- Colombia. Vessels that violated Inter-American-Tropical-Tuna-Commission (IATTC) resolutions, including finning of sharks and discarding of carcasses at sea, and disposal of plastic trash at sea.
- Ecuador. Vessels that violate IATTC resolutions including finning of sharks and discarding of carcasses at sea, illegal disposal of tuna, and disposal of plastic trash at sea.
- Ghana. Data reporting and fleet control deficiencies, including data submitted late or not at all; over harvest of species (specifically extensive over harvest of bigeye tuna); non-compliance with fleet capacity provisions; and failure to implement effective measures to prohibit at-sea transshipments.
- Italy. Vessels involved in continued driftnet fishing in violation of recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.
- Korea (Republic of).Failure to apply sufficient sanctions to deter its vessels from engaging in fishing activities that violate conservation and management measures required under an international fishery management agreement. Specifically, there are concerns that Korea is not effectively controlling its nine fishing vessel scurrently authorized to fish in the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) Convention Area. These vessels illegally landed 35.5 tons of toothfish (AKA Chilean seabass).
- Mexico. Several Mexican-flagged vessels violated IATTC resolutions including finning of sharks and discarding of carcasses at sea, disposal of plastic trash at sea, and violation of bycatch mitigation measures for sea turtles by failing to release turtles.
Mexico also is cited as the first nation to be identified under the Moratorium Protection Act for protected living marine resources (PLMR) bycatch. In 2012, Mexican vessels engaged in bycatch of a shared PLMR without a regulatory program that is comparable in effectiveness to that of the United States. Specifically, 438 loggerhead sea turtles were observed stranded, dead, along 43 kilometers of the shoreline of Playa San Lazaro, Baja California Sur in July and August 2012, according to Mexican Wildlife Law Enforcement. The Mexican gillnet fishery has high bycatch rates for loggerhead turtles. The 438 turtles that were stranded are believed to be indicative of a much larger number of turtles that drowned due to entanglement but did not subsequently wash up on shore.
- Panama. Several Panamanian-flagged vessels violated IATTC resolutions including finning of sharks and discarding of carcasses at sea, illegal disposal of tuna, and disposal of plastic trash at sea.
- Spain. Two Spanish-flagged vessels engaged in fishing activities that violated international conservation and management agreements. These include mislabeling of site of capture of harvested Greenland halibut and discard of skipjack tuna in violation of IATTC resolutions.
- Tanzania. Four vessels undermined the effectiveness of CCAMLR conservation measures.
- Venezuela.Vessels that violated IATTC resolutions including finning of sharks and discarding of carcasses at sea, illegal disposal of tuna, disposal of plastic trash at sea, deployment of fish aggregating devices in the high seas, and violation of bycatch mitigation measures for sea turtles by failing to release turtles.