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Intensifying the work against IUU fishing

20.09.2010 // IUU fishing is a major threat to fisheries conservation. It can lead to a collapse of a fishery, which in turn may cause adverse consequences for the livelihood of people depending on it.

IUU fishing occurs both within areas under national jurisdiction and on the high seas. Despite the efforts by global organisations, regional bodies and States, IUU fishing  persists and is in some areas increasing. Fighting IUU fishing is of the highest priority to Norway, and Norway has been an active contributor both in global and regional bodies.

The failure of States to effectively control the fishing operations of vessels flying their flags is the core of the problem of IUU fishing. Reliance on the implementation of flag State duties to prevent IUU fishing has proved to be insufficient, and enhanced port State control is now consideredcrucial in combating IUU fishing.

Prolonged IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing has led to significant overfishing of cod and other commercial stocks in the Barents Sea. For several years, IUU catches of North East Atlantic Cod surpassed 100,000 tonnes. Active steps have been taken to reduce this overfishing. In this work, the Norwegian fisheries authorities have collaborated with the inspection authorities in a number of other countries and international organizations. In 2010 Norwegian and Russian control authorities jointly concluded that no overfishing had been identified for the year 2009.

The decline in overfishing in the Barents Sea is the direct result of a number of concrete measures: a continual long-term focus on the part of the Norwegian inspection authorities bilateral collaboration with other countries the introduction of port State control in the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) area from 1 May 2007. Since the introduction of the port State control regime, there has been a marked reduction in illegal landings in the NEAFC area.

In order to spread the effective measures against overfishing on a global scale, Norway has initiated the establishment of regional schemes on port control in RFMOs Norway is party to, and has championed  the development of a global, binding instrument, which was adopted by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2009.

In order to address the problem of IUU fishing, most regional fisheries management organizations blacklist IUU vessels. These schemes imply that procedures are agreed upon for the establishment and maintenance of lists of fishing vessels (IUU Vessel list) found to have engaged in fishing activities in a manner, which has diminished the effectiveness of conservation and management measures.

Agreement has been reached on a number of appropriate domestic actions against vessels appearing on the IUU Vessel list, such as the refusal of the granting of their flag and not authorizing landing or transshipments in ports.

Nomally it is the IUU vessel itself (the physical vessel) which is denied such rights, also when operated by others than those who participated in the fishing. The Norwegian approach implies that all blacklisted vessels are perpetually prohibited from fishing in the Norwegian EEZ and will not be entitled to fly the Norwegian flag, irrespective of changes in ownership.

Norway also favours other means of combating IUU fishing, such as mandatory use of vessel monitoring systems (VMS), improved and more comprehensive reporting requirements, trade- and marked related measures in accordance with WTO regulations as well as increased focus on the responsibility of nationals involved in IUU fishing.


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