Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is referred to as "IUU." All fishing that violates fisheries laws or occurs outside the scope of fisheries laws and regulations is classified as IUU fishing.
Illegal fishing, which usually refers to fishing without a license, fishing in a closed area, fishing with prohibited gear, fishing over a quota, or fishing for prohibited species, is an important part of IUU fishing.
The majority of the world's fish is caught in coastal states' national waters. Illegal fishing in these areas can range from a licensed vessel catching more fish than it's allowed to a vessel entering the zone without a fishing license at all, or even a vessel crew failing to report or under-reporting.
On the high seas, there is a lot of unregulated fishing. International waters beyond a coastal state's exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from its shoreline, are known as the high seas. Patchy regulation, lax enforcement, and the vastness of the ocean – the high seas cover nearly 45 percent of our planet – all contribute to widespread illegal and unregulated fishing in those areas.
Even if unrestricted high-seas fishing does not violate any national laws, it has a significant negative impact on marine life in the world's oceans. As a result, the international community must devise and implement policies that both prohibit and eliminate these activities.
Mrs Mavis Hawa Koomson, the sector minister, announced this via Zoom at the National Fisheries Dialogue on the UN Food Systems Summit yesterday.
"Challenges and the Future of Ghana's Food Systems in the Fisheries Sector," the national dialogue was dubbed.
Ghana's "fisheries resources are currently overexploited," she said, adding that "MOFAD is pursuing long-term measures to protect fisheries resources, ensure the recovery of overexploited fish stocks, and accelerate growth in the aquaculture subsector."
Illegal fishing has a negative impact on both legitimate commercial fishermen and fish populations. Illegal fishermen save money by not having to pay for things like licenses. They fish without the restrictions that legal fishermen must adhere to, frequently falsify documentation, and effectively 'launder' their illegal catch.
They operate without the costs of doing business legally or the constraints of adhering to established policies and laws, illegal fishermen's actions are a clear case of unfair competition.
Illegal fishing activities also affect the accuracy of official fish catch and stock estimates because illegal fishermen do not report their catch. Because regulatory bodies use reported catches and stock estimates to set catch limits and manage fish populations, this has a negative impact on how fisheries are managed. As a result, it's difficult to effectively manage fisheries where illegal fishing is taking place because the true volume of fish caught is unknown.
Finally, illegal fishing frequently causes significant environmental harm, particularly when vessels use prohibited gear, such as driftnets, which catch non-target species (such as sharks, turtles, or dolphins) or physically harm or destroy reefs, seamounts, and other vulnerable marine ecosystems.
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