It is estimated that illegal fishing is responsible for up to one fifth of all marine life caught globally – around USD 23.5 billion worth of seafood.1 Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has wide-reaching impacts. These include, but are not limited to: cheating coastal communities that depend on fish from sustenance and income; undermining the position of law-abiding commercial fishermen; and creating marine life imbalance. Today, pressure on the world’s fish stocks is at an all time high.
Unfortunately, enforcing laws relating to fisheries is a challenge, due in part to the sheer size of the areas that need to be monitored. Additionally, fishing vessels are not required to operate under a standardised system of vessel management (unlike cars, for example) which means they can easily change their name, flags and ownership to avoid facing consequences for illegal fishing practices. Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent not-for-profit organisation and Oak partner wants to change this.
As part of its Ending Illegal Fishing Project, Pew is urging fisheries managers to require commercial fishing vessels to obtain an International Maritime Organization number and an automatic tracking system, which will allow them to be identified, tracked and located anywhere in the world. Pew, with Oak and Trygg Mat Tracking Foundation, is also working to create a single, comprehensive database of fishing vessels which will enable governments and enforcement agencies to catch boats that fish illegally.
Pew is also working to: ensure that there is a global system of enforcement that can reach illegal fishers wherever they operate; increase the number of States which adopt and implement the Port State Measures Agreement to cut off port access for illegal fishers; and strengthen controls in major market States to keep illegally caught seafood out of the shops.
With these measures, Pew envisages a world where there is a sustainable future for our oceans.
To find out more about the work Pew Charitable Trusts is doing to end illegal fishing visit its website.
To see more about how Oak Foundation is supporting organisations such as Pew, Environmental Justice Foundation or the World Wildlife Fund in their fight against illegal fishing, visit our grant database.
 The Pew Charitable Trusts, The PSMA : Why your country should ratify now, Ending Illegal Fishing Project, 2014.