Tag Archives: IUU fishing

MedReAct urges the European Union to take bold measures against illegal fishing of bluefin tuna

2015 Bluefin Tuna Seizures in Italy

With only few weeks left to the annual conference of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT, 10-17 November 2015, Malta), MedReAct highlights the persistence and extent of illegal catches of bluefin tuna (BFT) in the Mediterranean.

A recent media investigation by the Italian national broadcasting company, RAI, revealed the absence of catch certificates for fresh BFT on sale in some of the most popular Sicilian fish markets. According to one fisherman, interviewed by RAI, the majority  of BFT sold on the Italian market could originate from illegal catches. Evidence collected by MedReAct, indicates that this may well be the case.

Since the beginning of 2015, the Italian control authorities seized over 70 tons of illegal BFT, many of which juvenile fish caught before reaching the reproductive age.

In one case, an Italian fishing vessel without a catch quota, was found with 1.000 BFT on board. Such large seizures are not uncommon in Italy and indicate the presence of a large black market in the country. For example in May 2011, the Italian control authorities seized  30 tons of illegal BFT which were being shipped from Sicily to Northen Italy. In June 2013, 15 tons of BFT without catch certificate, were found on a lorry in Sicily. One month later, in the same area,  42 tons of BFT with no documentation, were discovered on three trucks.

According to MedReAct, combating illegal fishing cannot rely only on the repression activities  by fisheries inspectors. Other dissuassive measures must be applied by the EU, such as   preventing illegal fishing operators to have access to public subsidies, as provided by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, or by identify illegal fishers as EU nationals engaged in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) and therefore subjected to the European Union sanction regime on IUU fishing.

Notes:

RAI investigative story on fisheries, “Pesca Selvaggia”, broadcasted on October 4th, 2015.

View the list of 2015 BFT Seizures Italy.XLS or 2015 BFT Seizures Italy.PDF.

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ILLEGAL FISHING IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

CAPODOGLIO coda+sub - ALBERTO DARIO ROMEO

MedReAct presentation delivered at the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (Marrakesh, 23-25 April 2015): GFCM IUU Workshop- MedReAct 20150420 pp

Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing working area

The nature and extent of IUU fishing in the Mediterranean Sea is not clearly known at present. It is known, however, that these dubious activities are becoming a common practice in recent years. Mediterranean Flag states currently report several IUU fishing related issues mostly related to the Mediterranean fleet.

In 2013 the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) identified purse seine, trawl and driftnets as the gears that are mostly involved in IUU fishing. Repeated serious 
infringements related to the use of driftnets were documented in Italy,
 showing the extent of illegal activities by
 over 300 Italian driftnetters. A  ban on
 small scale driftnets in the Mediterranean would allow closing the current regulatory loopholes that illegal fishing operators have abundantly used to elude controls.