International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing

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2023 Date5 June 2023
2024 Date5 June 2024

International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing

International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing is an observance that aims to draw attention and bring collective effort against activities related to unlawful fishing. The day focuses on increasing public awareness, strengthening international collaboration, and promoting responsible fishing practices in order to protect marine ecosystems and secure sustainable fisheries for future generations.

Established by the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and observed annually since 2015, this international day addresses pressing issues concerning marine life, environments, and economies affected by IUU fishing. For Australia, understanding the implications of IUU fishing are vital for ensuring the longevity of its ecosystems, as well as the integrity of national and regional fisheries management. IUU fishing threatens Australia's biodiversity, the livelihoods of coastal communities, and the nation's reputation for quality seafood.

Events held on this day in Australia typically include seminars, workshops, and educational campaigns focused on raising awareness and promoting best practices in combating IUU fishing. Participants from various sectors are encouraged to share knowledge on ways to prevent and address IUU fishing activities. Observed annually on June 5, International Day for the Fight against IUU Fishing provides an occasion for Australians to actively contribute to efforts in ensuring a sustainable future for their marine ecosystems.

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Facts about Illegal & Unregulated Fishing

  • According to estimates by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities result in global losses of approximately $23 billion per year.
  • Studies suggest that illegal fishing accounts for approximately 20% of the global marine catch.
  • The Global Ocean Commission estimates that approximately 90% of the world's fisheries are fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted.
  • One of the areas most affected by IUU fishing is the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Australia's most iconic natural treasures. The reef is home to a wide array of marine life, and IUU fishing activities, especially those using destructive fishing practices, can significantly harm the delicate reef ecosystems.
  • Australia experiences frequent incursions by IUU fishing vessels, particularly from Southeast Asian countries. To address this issue, Australian authorities often undertake joint operations with the Australian Border Force and the Australian Defence Force to patrol and monitor its vast marine territories, apprehend IUU fishing vessels, and prosecute the perpetrators.

Top things to do in Australia for this observance

  • Explore the Port State Measures that countries agreed to in order to prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about illegal fishing practices in Australia. Here are some suggestions:
    1. The Last Ocean (2012)- This New Zealand documentary focuses on the Ross Sea in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, which is under threat from illegal and unsustainable fishing practices. The film addresses the efforts made to protect the area and create a marine reserve.
    2. Shark Cull (2014)- This Australian documentary examines the controversial shark cull policy implemented by the Western Australian government in response to a series of shark attacks. The film delves into the issue of shark conservation and the effects of fishing on shark populations.
    3. Blue (2017)- This Australian documentary explores the diverse marine life found in the oceans around Australia and the significant threats they face, including illegal and unsustainable fishing practices. The film advocates for marine conservation and sustainable use of resources.
  • Celebrate today by supporting sustainable seafood. Choose to eat at restaurants that source their seafood ethically and sustainably. Look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) blue fish tick label on the seafood products to verify that they are sustainably sourced.

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