Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing – or ‘Pirate Fishing’ – has become a global phenomenon that now threatens the future of the world’s fisheries.
It is worth remembering that one of the principal grievances of Somali pirates is that of illegal fishing off their coasts. Indeed on a number of occasions this has been cited as the root cause of what has developed into the current Somali piracy scenario.
Somalia is a failed state thus allowing vessels to be held close to its shoreline, there are no similar situations in western Africa, however, there is a risk of local fishermen reacting to what they perceive as the illegal plundering of local resources.
According to the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) “Pirate fishing operations are stealing from our seas and oceans, undermining attempts at sustainable management, causing massive damage to the wider marine ecosystem and the food security and livelihoods of poor coastal communities in developing countries.”
The EJF’s Pirate Fishing Campaign focuses on key issues that if addressed will greatly contribute to eliminating illegal fishing operations, including ending the use of Flags of Convenience for fisheries vessels, closing Ports of Convenience such as Las Palmas, empowering grassroots organisations with video and advocacy training, and securing support for the governments of developing countries, particularly in West Africa, so that they can address pirate fishing in their own waters.