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

The International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing is a global initiative aimed at raising awareness about the detrimental impacts of IUU fishing on marine ecosystems, fish stocks, and economies worldwide. This observance plays a crucial role in promoting the sustainable management of aquatic resources and empowering related industries to tackle the challenges posed by IUU fishing. The need for effective regulations, sturdier enforcement mechanisms, and international cooperation is emphasized on this day, especially as increasing demand for aquatic products puts greater stress on resources.

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) officially recognized this day in 2017 to showcase the threat of IUU fishing. IUU fishing is estimated to contribute to annual losses valued around $23 billion globally. In India, the fishing sector provides livelihood to millions of fishermen and contributes significantly to export earnings. India ranks as the world's second-largest fish producer, making it crucial for the country to implement stringent regulations to combat IUU fishing practices. Regulations will ensure the long-term sustenance of native fishery resources and protecting the livelihoods of dependent communities.

Information sessions, workshops, and interactive discussions are held to emphasize responsible fishing methods, the significance of procuring aquatic products from verified sources, and the impact of their individual actions on the health of marine ecosystems. These efforts ultimately contribute to the conservation of aquatic resources, the sustainability of the industry, and the overall prosperity of the global fishing fraternity. The International Day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is observed on June 5th each year.

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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.
  • IUU fishing causes significant economic losses for India, as it is estimated to cost around $1.2 billion annually.
  • Following the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, the Indian government strengthened coastal security measures to prevent illegal activities, including IUU fishing. The Indian Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries increased surveillance and enforcement activities, such as using boat identification systems, unannounced inspections, and patrolling of fishing boats within Indian Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs).

Top things to do in India 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 India. Here are our top picks:
    1. Raw Sewage, Dead Fish: This Is Mumbai's Most Polluted River (2018) - A documentary by NDTV, this short film highlights the alarming pollution levels and illegal fishing practices in Mumbai's Mithi River.
    2. Fishing Palk Bay (2014) - A documentary by The Real News Network, this film explores the conflicts between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen in the Palk Bay region as a result of illegal fishing and border trespassing.
    3. Chilika Bank$: A Banking System for Fishermen (2018) - This short documentary focuses on an innovative program implemented in the Indian state of Odisha to preserve the biodiversity of Chilika Lake and promote sustainable fishing practices.
  • Visit one of India's several fisheries institutes, such as the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in Kochi and Central Institute of Fisheries Education (CIFE) in Mumbai. These institutes often offer awareness programs and educational materials about responsible fishing and marine conservation.

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