#IUU fishing
Clamp Down on Cross-Border Trade Leads to Temporary Decline in Wildlife Trafficking

Clamp Down on Cross-Border Trade Leads to Temporary Decline in Wildlife Trafficking

In the silver linings category, the COVID-19 pandemic’s shock to economies around the globe is also proving to be a disruption to illegal wildlife trafficking by transnational criminal networks, according to a new report from Wildlife Justice Commission, a non-profit organization that investigates and tracks these criminal activities and networks. 

Why This Matters:  Temporary blockages in the black market supply chain are not surprising, and the bad guys will find a way around them — too much money is at stake and these folks are rule-breakers by training.

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Illegal Fishing In Chilean Waters Just Got Harder – And You Can Help Catch The Bad Guys

Illegal Fishing In Chilean Waters Just Got Harder – And You Can Help Catch The Bad Guys

Two weeks ago the government of Chile joined Panama, Peru, and Indonesia by making its vessel tracking data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch (GFW), which pinpoints on the above map (click on the map above) in real-time the movements of commercial fishing* vessels in Chile’s coastal ocean. 

Why This Matters:  Chile is a fishing powerhouse, and by joining the other nations that have made their similar data public, Chile is adding momentum to the movement towards greater transparency in fishing activity, which is the key to improving fisheries management and sustainability in the Pacific, and all eventually everywhere.

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Peru Moves to Greater Transparency and Accountability In Its All-Important Fisheries Sector

Peru Moves to Greater Transparency and Accountability In Its All-Important Fisheries Sector

Peru is the second-largest fishing nation in the world after China, and home to one of the world’s largest single stock fisheries – the anchoveta. In 2018, after a shift to rights-based management, its industrial fishery was one of the first in the world to make its vessel location (VMS) data available to the public in order to root out illegal fishing and improve management.

Why This Matters:  Peru may be a small country, but its fisheries are significant globally and the introduction of greater accountability for both large and small fishing vessels is a sign that better management is possible even as the national government struggles to overcome a series of corruption scandals.

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New Report from Security Think Tank Calls For Greater Transparency in Global Fishing

New Report from Security Think Tank Calls For Greater Transparency in Global Fishing

A new report from the Stimson Center, a global security think tank concludes that globally the fishing industry — particularly fishing vessels that ply waters far from their home (“the distant water fleet”) — is unsustainable and the only way to reign it in is through much greater transparency so that these vessels’ movements and catches can be more closely monitored by governments and NGOs.

Why This Matters: According to the authors, the bottom line is that because distant water fleets have no effective global oversight, they are fishing unsustainably (and possibly even illegally) and that will lead to destabilizing food shortages in parts of the world that can least afford them, like East and West Africa and the Pacific.

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Our Ocean Conference Reels In 370 Ocean Stewardship Commitments Worth $63B

Our Ocean Conference Reels In 370 Ocean Stewardship Commitments Worth $63B

The Our Ocean Conference concluded in Norway with 370 separate pledges for action to conserve the ocean made by governments, NGOs and private corporations, with a value of $63 billion, ABC News reported Climate change commitments received the lion share of the funding at $51 billion, and the private sector providing nearly 80% of the funds.  Concurrently, a Youth Leadership Summit convened 100 young ocean activists from around the globe for a “boot camp” on ocean conservation innovative ideas.

Why This Matters:  The Our Ocean conference is a different type of global meeting — not based on a legal framework or executive agreement, and not limited to governments or as full participants — which seems to be one of the keys to its success.   The Conference also benefits from the exuberance of the youth meeting held in parallel.  It seems to be working — Palau has signed on to host the next year’s conference and Panama will host the year after that.

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Using Satellites To Track Illegal Fishing Vessels at Night

The U.S. NGO Oceana is working with municipal governments in the Philippines to expose illegal fishing in that country’s waters using a U.S. government satellite sensor called the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS). 

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Fish Fraud Is Not Fake News

Fish Fraud Is Not Fake News

A new study by the non-profit Oceana found that more than one in five fish they tested from supermarkets and restaurants is mislabeled.  It is a typical bait and switch, according to Beth Lowell of Oceana, who said “The consumer thinks that they’re getting a high-priced fish and instead they’re getting the cheaper alternative … they’re being ripped off.” 

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Defense Think Tank Wades into Ocean Sustainability Fight

Defense Think Tank Wades into Ocean Sustainability Fight

A new “front” opened yesterday in the fight to ensure that the world’s ocean resources are used sustainably, with the launch of the Stephenson Ocean Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).  The Project’s web site explains its objective — to raise awareness about the ways that competition for marine resources contributes to instability and geopolitical risk for the United States.

Why This Matters:  Full disclosure — I (Monica) have had a long standing interest in the issue of ocean resources and national security, and have been working to help CSIS get the ball rolling on the project.  I believe that if you substituted the word “oil” for “fish” in the paragraphs above, no one would even blink at the national security implications and environmental significance of this work. Fish in my view could be even more important than oil to a larger segment of the public globally — those in the developing world who don’t have cars but do eat fish. The resources available at the Department of Defense (both technical and financial) could be a game changer for efforts to ensure ocean sustainability into the future.  

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