Arctic Suffers From Illegal Fishing
Arctic waters provide about 70% of whitefish to the global markets. The Barents Sea cod fishery and the Russian Far Eastern Alaska Pollock fishery alone account for between 20 and 25% of the global catch of whitefish. Regretfully these precious resources attract not only responsible fishermen but poachers as well.
WWF Report “Illegal fishing in Arctic waters” prepared by experts of WWF Arctic programme suggests main consequences of IUU (Illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing such as:
- Decline of fish stocks
- Deteriorated legal employment in fish sector of economy
- Reduced incomes of seaports and other related sectors (processing, refrigeration, transport services etc.)
- Unpaid taxes
- Ecosystem degradation
- Lesser health, safety and quality standards
- Vulnerability of some regions and countries in terms of food security issues.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing costs nations upwards of €10 billion (US$15.5 billion) annually. And degradation of marine ecosystems cannot be fully assessed in money terms.
“To be able to fight effectively against IUU fishing we need a strong political will of the states involved in harvesting, processing and trade of marine biological resources – notes Konstantin Zgurovsky, coordinator of WWF Russia Marine Programme. – It is important also to secure conditions when fishermen themselves should be interested that this IUU fishing challenge is solved, as it is only the legal products that are of high demand at environmentally sensitive markets of Europe and the United States, but currently also in Japan'.
“We are glad that currently we manage to fight successfully against IUU fishing in the Barents Sea, but there is a threat that poachers will find new ways to global markets, - says Maren Esmark, Head of WWF Norway Marine Programme. – We appeal to all acting in fish processing, sales and also to consumers: please restrain from supporting IUU fishing. Let’s save Arctic fish resources for our kids!”