The 9th International Forum on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing at Chatham House was held on 15th-16th February 2016.  The meeting was opened by the Honourable Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, Ghana who reflected on Ghana’s recent experiences improving the management and governance of their fisheries in the wake of the EU-IUU yellow card. A raft of new measures have improved controls in the fisheries sector including enhanced port State measures, capacity building and improved MCS activities. The Minister described the introduction of  ‘severe sanctions’ as a bold innovation that is helping to deter illegal fishing.

Presenting in the opening session Per Erik Bergh (Stop Illegal Fishing) looked at the scale of IUU fishing, the progress that has been made in fighting illegal fishing and the progress that still needs to be made. Per Erik reflected that  ‘the one thing that really has changed is our understanding of the complexity of violations that are occurring and their links to broader criminal activity and the devastating impact that illegal fishing has on our fish stocks and people’.

Sandy Davies (Stop Illegal Fishing) presented the meeting with details of some specific cases of illegal fishing, particularly relating to vessel identity issues that have been investigated by the FISH-i Africa Task Force. Speaking on Kenya’s experiences of cooperating as part of the FISH-i Task Force Benedict Kiilu (Principle Fisheries Officer in Mombasa, Kenya) said that ‘pre 2012 every coastal state was working for itself. Since the advent of FISH-i Africa we share MCS data and track vessels fishing in the Indian Ocean. This is working positively, providing success at a minimal cost. We have reduced IUU fishing in the Western Indian Ocean through the FISH-i Africa Task Force.’

Further sessions discussed international regulatory instruments, the role of new technologies and data, IUU fishing and other crimes, the EU IUU regulations and the final session considered how to ensure a cohesive international response to IUU fishing.

For a more detailed account of the meeting read Kristín von Kistowski’s blog at httpss://www.iuuwatch.eu/2016/02/international-and-regional-cooperation-the-key-factor-to-keep-up-the-fight-against-iuu-fishing/