Intensifying the Fight Against IUU Fishing at the Regional Level
Intensifying the Fight Against IUU Fishing at the Regional Level
OECD Trade and Agriculture
February 2019

In the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) are the primary mechanism for co-operation between fishing countries and coastal states to ensure sustainable fishing globally. This report aims to inspire and guide RFMO secretariats and member countries in how to focus their effort and investment to step up the contribution of RFMOs to the fight. It does so by measuring the extent to which RFMOs apply best practices against IUU fishing and pointing to the remaining gaps.

Information gathered from RFMOs’ resolutions and recommendations introducing conservation and management measures (CMMs), other publicly available sources and direct communication with RFMOs’ secretariats was analysed and summarised into five indicators reflecting the most important management tools targeting IUU fishing at the disposal of RFMOs. Indicators show overall progress among RFMOs, but discrepancies remain, suggesting scope for improvement by learning from best performers.

Key Issues
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing harms law-abiding fishers by creating unfair competition and cutting profitability and employment opportunities, while weakening food security in regions that depend on local seafood.
IUU fishing also undermines the regions' capacity to manage fish stocks sustainably by adding pressure that is difficult to quantify when setting catch limits.
IUU fishing further threatens the ocean ecosystems when it makes use of damaging harvest methods and targets species that are already endangered.