Illegal fishing hits world’s poorest -UK studies Global fish stocks are under serious threat from illegal fishing, which deprives some of the world’s poorest people of vital food and kills thousands of seabirds each year, two British reports said on Thursday.
One report, commissioned by the British government, said $4 billion of fish is caught illegally each year, around a quarter of it off the coasts of sub-Saharan Africa.
The other study, produced by the independent Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), said illegal fishing killed around 100,000 seabirds each year, many of them endangered albatrosses.
“Illegal fishing has a massive impact on the livelihoods of some of the poorest people in the world,” Minister for International Development Gareth Thomas said.
Marine and Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw said: “Many fisheries around the world are under threat of collapse through over-fishing, and illegal fishing is a major cause of this”.
The EJF report, “Pirates and Profiteers”, said that in some important fishing grounds, illegal fishing accounted for up to 30 percent of total catches.
It said some fishermen were skirting regulation by registering their ships under so-called “flags of convenience” in the knowledge that the countries involved would not clamp down on illegal fishing.
“Certain countries allow vessels to fly their flag for a few hundred dollars, and then ignore any offences committed,” the EJF said, urging the international community to act.
“We need the G8 and European Union to take the lead in outlawing flags of convenience and introducing truly effective controls against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” EJF Director Steve Trent said.
The EU, the presidency of which passes to Britain next month, sets annual fishing quotas in a bid to protect endangered species such as cod but also to ensure the survival of the fishing industry.
It has urged member states to increase the size of fines for fishermen caught breaking the law