IUU fishing poses a threat to the efforts of achieving maximum sustainability of our resources. During the past two decades, extensive attempts have been made to combat IUU fisheries. For example, Norway has succeeded in a pioneering effort to develop models for estimating the extent of IUU fishing and in applying these to stocks in the Barents Sea. The Directorate of Fisheries and the Coast Guard have set up a joint database. As a result of improved tools for risk assessment, Norwegian resource control has become even more targeted in recent years, and further resources will be devoted to this aspect of Norwegian fisheries management.
Estimates of IUU fishing in the Barents Sea
Over-fishing has serious long term consequences for cod stocks in the Barents Sea. It is also damaging for the legitimate fishing activities that takes place in compliance with regulations. First, quotas have to be reduced, meaning that legal fisheries will be affected. Second, prices will fall as a result of the illegally caught fish flooding the market. Finally, confidence in fisheries management will generally be eroded. Importantly, IUU fishing does not merely affect Norwegian fisheries, but it will also have an impact on several stakeholders in the fisheries industry – also including legal fisheries conducted by other states.
The total allowable catch for cod in the Barents sea in recent years
The total allowable catch (TAC) for cod in the Barents Sea has risen slowly
but steadily the past decade. In 2000, the TAC was on 390 000 tonnes, whereas in 2009 the TAC was on 525 000 tonnes. The efforts to combat IUU fisheries in the Barents Sea have so far been successful and thus the over-fishing has been significantly reduced. The International Council of the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), which provides the scientific information guiding the quota setting, has estimated that the illegal fisheries of cod has been reduced from 166 000 tonnes in 2005, to 40 000 tonnes in 2007.