Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing costs the global economy up to $23 billion per year.
Seafood has always been an essential source of income and nutrition for people around the world.
A key driver of the global economy, fisheries contribute an average of $100 billion USD annually, with seafood products being one of the most traded food commodities worldwide. The importance of seafood cannot be overstated, especially when it comes to developing countries. Of the people who derive livelihoods from fishing, 90% live in developing countries, where the net-export value of fisheries is higher than that of coffee, rice, sugar, and tea combined. Moreover, at least one billion people in developing countries rely on seafood as their primary source of protein. Unfortunately, it is these exactly same countries, which depend so heavily on the ocean, that are experiencing the brunt of its degradation.
Currently, over 85% of the world’s fisheries currently classified as either fully exploited or critically overexploited.
Growing market demand for seafood coupled with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices has degraded and decimated ocean ecosystems worldwide. Each year, illicit fishing accounts for up to 26 million tons of fish, equal to over 15% of the world’s total annual fisheries output. Technological advances and inadequate fishery management/enforcement has led to humans catching sea life faster than it’s able to recover. Moreover, an average of roughly 7.3 million tons of sea creatures are caught, killed, then discarded every year. With so many people dependent on seafood and so many fisheries currently overexploited, the fact that so much sea life is being killed and thrown away like trash is truly a tragedy of the commons.
IUU fishing endangers not only the natural balance of ocean ecosystems, but also the socioeconomic stability and overall well-being of all dependent human communities.