Illegal and uncontrolled fishing is one of the scourges of modern society, which destroy fauna and habitat, and impoverish the marine environment, gradually destroying it. Developing countries are losing billions of dollars to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, according to a new study from the Financial Transparency Coalition.
Also according to the study, the top 10 companies involved in illegal fishing are responsible for nearly a quarter of all reported cases. Of these companies, eight are from China, one from Colombia and another from Spain. Africa is the most affected continent, losing around $ 11.2 billion annually.
Of that total, 40% are found in West Africa alone. Argentina loses between $ 2 billion and $ 3.6 billion, Chile $ 397 million and Indonesia both $ 4 billion.
Illegal fishing causes billions of losses in developing countries
Worldwide, 820 million people depend on fishing for their livelihoods, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
According to a report drawn up by the United Nations, over 90% of the world's fish stocks are fully exploited, overfished or depleted. Illegal fishing accounts for about 20% of the world's catch, according to a 2013 report from the Pew Trust, thus playing a key role in overfishing.
Matti Kohonen, one of the report's authors and executive director of the FTC, explained: "Illegal fishing is a huge industry that directly threatens the livelihoods of millions of people around the world, particularly living in communities coastal areas in developing countries already affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost of living crisis and the impact of climate change.
Ship owners continue to operate with complete impunity, using complex corporate structures and other schemes to hide your identity and evade prosecution." The report warns that almost no country requires owner information when registering vessels or applying for fishing licenses.
Illegal fishing can have a significant impact on target species and ecosystems. Fishing generally has the potential to damage fragile marine ecosystems and vulnerable species such as coral reefs, turtles and seabirds. In fact, all eight sea turtle species are now endangered, and illegal fishing and hunting are two of the main reasons for their destruction.
Legitimate fishing regulation aims to mitigate these impacts, but IUU fishermen rarely comply with the regulations. This can reduce future productivity and biodiversity and create imbalances in ecosystems.