WWF welcomes decision of the Government of Russian Federation to sign the International Agreement on Combating IUU Fishing
This Agreement provides for strengthening control measures in the ports and in the coastal waters. Implemented as such it will close the access to ports for all the vessels involved in poaching fisheries. Draft Agreement was developed and preliminarily approved by experts from 91 countries; it will enter into force on the 30-th day after it is ratified by 25 states.
“Studies by WWF revealed that in 2001 to 2005 over-fishing of Alaska Pollack ranged from 166 to 280 thousand metric tons, and in 2006 to 2006 of Pacific Salmons – from 53 to 153 thousand metric tons. In 2000 to 2006 over-fishing of Kamchatka Crab was estimated as 52 to nine thousand tons a year. Illegal harvests of Cod in the Barents Sea in 2005 were estimated in 2005 in more than 100 thousand tons, though it declined later after a number of measures were taken. At the same time a number of experts consider that just the ports used by poachers shifted to uncontrolled ones”, – comments Konstantin Zgurovsky, Head of WWF Russia Marine Programme.
Government of Russia recently pays larger attention to fighting IUU fisheries: Agreement was signed with South Korea, and similar Agreement is in preparation with Japan. Also the Decision of the Government of Russia that the Russian fishing ships with products for export are obliged to visit first the Russian national ports helped to deter Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing. Stricter reporting measures are being developed, such as improved satellite monitoring of fishing vessels, electronic harvesting log etc. At the same time, as seen by WWF, there are still a number of challenges that require specific attention. These are by-catch and discard of smaller-size fish, true and precise estimates of harvests, control over and along the entire chain of custody “from the fishing vessel to the shop & market stalls” etc.
“WWF developed very specific measures to combat IUU fisheries: improved satellite monitoring of fishing activities, introduction of the on-board observers system, installing weights on board to weigh harvested fish combined with on-board video monitoring, stricter control in ports and ecological certification of fisheries. These are the measures that bring market preferences to legally operating fishermen, - says Konstantin Zgurovsky. – Responsible fishermen already realize quite well that IUU fishing and are the reason for lower, even damping prices at the markets, and we are ready to cooperate with such fishermen and with the state authorities to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing”.