My opinion on this vast subject is that the
government encourages for decades intensive monocultures (pollutants,
pesticides) and super-mechanized intensive pollutants. It is the same principle
for the sea. For many years, fisheries subsidies have been on the agenda of the
A solution could be to go from fishing to
aquaculture, as we have done millennia ago from hunting to farming, from
gathering to agriculture.
Moreover, several members of the WTO
proposed to ban subsidies that increase the capacity of fishing fleets, either
as a general rule (subsidies contributing to overcapacity) or by targeting
specific forms of subsidies. All of that it could be a good start. I think
governments, locals and international organizations have to work together on
the long term, and not only think about court solutions.
Discussion question: What are the
concerns and solutions to illegal fishing?
around 20% of global catches, between 11 and 26 million tones, illegal fishing
or IUU fishing (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) represents a loss of
between 10 and 23 billion euros each year globally.
IUU fishing means that catches have been
misreported and have not been declared at all to the competent public
authorities. IUU fishing is contributing to overexploitation of stocks.
The living conditions, food security and
the management and conservation of measures put in place are being endangered
by these illegal practices. To fight against illegal fishing is to promote
environmental, social and economic development.
I found three kinds of concerns that
illegal fishing can bring.
The first one is
that it can be considered as an imbalance factor. While illegal fishing poses a
real environmental threat by consuming global fish stocks and threatening
marine ecosystems and biodiversity and also by undermining the protection and
recovery measures put in place, it also creates serious economic and social
imbalances. Illegal fishers, first of all, cause a strong distortion of
competition, implying a decrease in catches, incomes and jobs within groups
that practice legal fishing. They threaten the existence of the fishery sector
by over-exploiting and consuming resource.These consequences are huge in those
countries where fishing is the main source of income and a source of food.
Illegal fishing practices directly threaten these jobs, with a loss of income
for the fishermen and their families whose depend on it.
fisheries sector faces fierce competition from illegal fishing, whose operators
do not respect any of the many obligations imposed on regular operators fishing
in the same waters or targeting the same species and financial markets.
Fishermen who comply with the regulations are therefore discriminated against
because of the unfair practices of other fishermen, which in particular leads
to loss of market share for the fishing industry. This problem has worsened in
recent years due to the globalization of the fishing industry.
can be the consequences on the environment as I mentioned before. However, the
negative impact of IUU fishing on the environment goes far beyond direct damage
to fish stocks. These practices are also a real danger to ecosystems and marine
habitats. The use of prohibited fishing methods may result in the presence of a
significant proportion of unwanted species in bycatch, which is then discarded.
Often it’s not only fish, but also other animals such as sea birds or turtles,
the vast majority of which will not survive.
concern is that illegal fishing is said to be a profitable practice. Practiced
by all types of ships, regardless of registration, origin, size or condition,
particularly offshore, out of sight, illegal fishing is always commendable and
even favored (like fishing overcapacity).
And the last
concern I was to talk about is regarding the heavy consequences for the
developing countries. For many of them, fisheries resources play a key role in
food security and poverty reduction. In many cases, developing coastal
countries lack the means and capabilities necessary for the proper management
and control of the maritime waters under their jurisdiction. Some irregular and
unscrupulous operators take advantage of these weaknesses and engage in fishing
activities without the authorization of coastal states, thus plundering vital
resources for local fishermen.
We can say, that
all these concerns are related to each other, so figured out solution for one
can help improve the others as well. However,
what kind of solutions we can find for better resource management?
Today, 61.3% of the world’s fish stocks are
exploited at their maximum renewal threshold and 28.8%1 of stocks
are overexploited. The WWF thus underlines the state of emergency and sets the
goal of the end of illegal fishing in 2025. I order to do so, we need to take
First, we need to ensure the implementation and improve overall
international agreements and measures. It also include the definition of a
true regulatory status of fisheries in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Secondly, we need to strengthen management and supervision
measures for fishing activities within Regional Fisheries Management
Organizations (RFMOs) with a real involvement of States Parties and taking
into account scientific advice, particularly RFMOs which operate in areas
sensitive to IUU fishing. It is also essential to better take into account
the role of Asian countries, especially China, in the various policies
implemented at international level.
Thirdly, we need to increase the financial penalties for
serious infringements of the rules on fishing and the marketing of illegal
catches. Financial penalties must reach a level that deters fraudsters and
could be associated with other sanctions such as the confiscation of
catches or vessels and / or the withdrawal of licenses.
Fourthly, we need to strengthen cooperation with international
partners to improve monitoring, control and surveillance of illegal
fishing activities (in the high seas for example).
Filthy, we need to increase support to developing countries to
improve the control and management of their national waters. That what’s
WTO is trying to do with the SCM Agreement which allows a more flexible
approach for these Members. They are applying a special regime applicable
to developing and least-developed countries because they understood the
importance in the economy.
And finally, we need to make the consumer aware that Northern
countries are an important lever of change because their choices influence
the production and supply modes. When focusing on products for which we
have the highest level of information, local, fair markets and labeled
products, it has an impact on the market.
So, we can say that the task is not easy
and that it will be some long-term actions. However, annihilating illegal
fishing involves actions throughout the industry, from the South to the North
and need international preoccupation.
1 FAO, 2004