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International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing

In 2015, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean of the FAO proposed the launch of an initiative to declare an International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. After extensive consultations, the proposal was endorsed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries, leading to the proclamation of June 5th as the “International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing” by the UN General Assembly in December 2017.

Safeguarding Global Fisheries: A Vital Necessity

Fisheries play a crucial role in providing food, employment, recreation, trade, and economic well-being to people worldwide. In a world grappling with a growing population and persistent hunger, fish has emerged as an essential commodity for achieving food security. However, the international community’s efforts to ensure the sustainability of fisheries are being severely compromised by illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.

The Staggering Impact of IUU Fishing

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), IUU fishing activities are responsible for the loss of 11–26 million tonnes of fish each year, with an estimated economic value of US$10–23 billion. This alarming situation prompted the United Nations General Assembly to include Target 4 of Goal 14 in the Sustainable Development Agenda adopted in 2015, urging the international community to “effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices” by 2020.

Raising Awareness and Promoting Responsible Practices

Achieving this ambitious target requires strong awareness-raising efforts to draw public attention to the negative impacts of IUU fishing activities, an area in which the FAO has been actively engaged. In 1995, the FAO Conference adopted the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, a voluntary instrument that sets out principles and international standards for responsible practices, ensuring the effective conservation, management, and development of living aquatic resources while respecting ecosystems and biodiversity.

International Instruments to Combat IUU Fishing

In 2009, the FAO Conference adopted the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. This binding agreement stipulates minimum port State measures to combat IUU fishing and entered into force on June 5, 2016, marking a historic event as the first international legally-binding instrument specifically devoted to the fight against IUU fishing.

Highlighting Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture

Additionally, the UN declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, focusing attention on the small-scale fishermen and women who comprise 90 percent of the world’s fisheries workforce. This initiative aims to raise awareness and promote sustainable practices in the artisanal fishing and aquaculture sectors.

As we observe the International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, let us unite in our efforts to protect and sustainably manage our precious marine resources, ensuring a secure future for global fisheries and the millions who depend on them.

Static GK:

  • Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General: Qu Dongyu;
  • Food and Agriculture Organization  Founded: 16 October 1945, Québec City, Canada;
  • Food and Agriculture Organization  Headquarters: Rome, Italy.

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