International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is organized every year on 5th June. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities are responsible for the loss of 11–26 million tonnes of fish each year, which is estimated to have an economic value of US$10–23 billion.
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Purpose of International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing:
The purpose of the International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing is to draw attention to the threats posed by IUU fishing activities to the sustainable use of fisheries resources as well as to ongoing efforts to fight these activities. Seafood provides sustenance for billions of people worldwide, with approximately 3 billion people relying on seafood as their primary source of protein. Fish and fish products play a significant role in nutrition, containing many of the vitamins and minerals needed to address some of the most severe and widespread nutritional deficiencies. Even small quantities, fish contains essential amino acids, fats, iron, vitamin D, and calcium. The importance of fish does not stop at its nutritional value; the industry itself currently employs nearly 60 million people, with the majority of those employed by capture fisheries working in small-scale operations in developing countries. The first-sale value of all fisheries and aquaculture was calculated at $362 billion in 2016.
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What is Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing?
World fish stocks face rapid depletion from intensive legal fishing activities, but also from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. IUU fishing refers to fishing activities that are not compliant with regional, national, or international fisheries conservation or management measures, and contributes to the destruction of marine habitats, the distortion of competition, and the weakening of coastal communities.
Illegal fishing refers to fishing activities that violate national or international terms. Examples of this include fishing without a license, keeping undersized fish, or engaging in the transhipment of fish.
Unregulated fishing refers to fishing activities in areas with no applicable national, regional, or international conservation or management measures.
Unreported fishing occurs when fishing activity has not been properly recorded, often due to lack of data collection or poor management.
While Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global problem accounting for roughly 15% of total catches annually, it occurs most often in high seas pockets or areas outside of a country’s EEZ. Due to its clandestine nature, generating a reliable and comprehensive global figure of the precise volumes and value of IUU fish catches is nearly impossible. It is for this reason that the IUU Fishing Index was created at the start of 2019.
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Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing Index:
The Index provides a measure of the degree to which states are exposed to and effectively combat IUU fishing. The IUU Fishing Index provides an IUU fishing score for all coastal states of between 1 and 5 (1 being the best, and 5 the worst). The Index allows countries to be benchmarked against each other, and assessed for their vulnerability, prevalence and response to IUU fishing.