The International Day for the Fight Against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (I.U.U.) Fishing is observed on June 5. The purpose behind this annual day is to make people aware of the threats posed by I.U.U. fishing to the marine ecosystem. In the past decades, world fish stocks have deteriorated extensively due to I.U.U. fishing as well as legal fishing practices. This is affecting marine life and biodiversity. It also threatens the livelihood of coastal communities and the climate. To counter this, the U.N. General Assembly created a dedicated day to fight against I.U.U. fishing and promote sustainable fishing practices.
History of International Day for the Fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
The fight against illegal fishing has been going on for nearly three decades now. Back in 1995, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O.) hosted a conference where it adopted a code of conduct to conserve aquatic ecosystems and resources through the effective management of fisheries. Despite these measures, the rate of fishing in unregulated areas did not come to a stop. I.U.U. fishing has led to the loss of 11 to 26 million tonnes of fish every year. This amounts to an economic value of 10 to 23 billion dollars.
In 2009, the F.A.O. conference agreed to prevent and eliminate I.U.U. fishing in some port states. It took seven years to enforce this agreement. In addition, the U.N. General Assembly too stepped in to curtail the adverse effects of overfishing. In 2015, the members of the assembly put together a Sustainable Development Agenda. This urged fishermen across the globe to regulate harvesting and put an end to destructive fishing practices. That same year, there was an appeal for the creation of a designated day in support of this cause. The commission submitted its proposal to the U.N. General Assembly and in 2017, the latter proclaimed June 5 as the International Day for the Fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
This was a historical moment. It was also the day when the Port State Measures Agreement officially became an international treaty. In the latest updates, the U.N. has declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, with a focus on small-scale fishing occupations worldwide.
International Day for the Fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing timeline
F.A.O. agrees to promote sustainable management of fisheries.
The U.N. enforces the Fish Stocks Agreement that sets out principles for the management and conservation of fish stocks.
The U.K.’s Department for International Development (D.I.D.) launches ‘Stop Illegal Fishing’, an Africa-based N.G.O. committed to stopping illegal fishing.
A global record on fishing created by the U.N. Committee On Fisheries begins.
International Day for the Fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing FAQs
Which country experiences the highest rate of illegal fishing?
As per research conducted by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department of the F.A.O., Indonesia experiences almost 30% of illegal fishing in the whole world.
How does overfishing impact the environment?
Unregulated fishing impacts marine environments causing water pollution that degrades the habitat of many marine creatures. It has also led to a massive decrease in fish populations for several species.
What does illegal fishing refer to?
If you fish without a license or go fishing in a closed area, it means you are defying the laws of fishing. There are also conditions that you cannot use certain fishing gear which is prohibited or fish prohibited species.
How to Observe International Day for the Fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing
Spread the word
You could spend the day spreading awareness of the ill effects of illegal fishing. If you hear of any relevant event (rally, awareness drives) organized on this occasion, consider attending them.
Learn about the issue
Most of us weren’t aware of illegal and unregulated fishing. That doesn’t mean the issue isn’t grave. You can take some time to research and learn about the issue that’s responsible for disrupting marine lives around the globe.
Avoid fishing in closed areas
If you love fishing, this is important for you! The least you could do in support of this initiative is by doing your bit. Don’t go out for a random fishing trip in a closed area or use equipment that is prohibited. The same goes for overfishing!
5 Facts About Illegal Fishing You Should Know
Nearly 32% of seafood imported into the U.S. is caught illegally.
39% of fish stocks in the North-East Atlantic and surrounding water bodies are classified as overfished.
On average, a person consumes 19.2 kg of fish annually, which is twice as much as 50 years ago.
Declining marine species
In the past 40 years, there has been a 39% decline in marine species.
Unregulated and illegal fishing amounts to 11 to 26 million tonnes of fishing in the world.
Why International Day for the Fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is Important
It’s a burning issue
We might think that illegal fishing does not impact us directly. Nonetheless, it is proving to be a serious hazard to marine life. Unregulated fishing is also a factor behind climate change. It’s high time we consider the issue seriously and take precautionary measures.
A step to conserve nature
Since illegal fishing is a global issue, it is serious. Organizations like the U.N., the Center for Oceans, and the Global Salmon Initiative are taking necessary steps. We can also contribute by following the rules and practicing sustainable fishing.
It aims at the greater good
The fight against illegal fishing isn’t just about protecting endangered species and conserving marine life. It can also bring a positive change to our environment overall. It can prevent the loss of biodiversity which is a major factor behind climate change.
International Day for the Fight against Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing dates