What is IUU Fishing?
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing refers to the following fishing activities that do not comply with legal conservation and management measures stipulated by relevant countries and the international community.
- Illegal Fishing
- Fishing activities conducted without permission of relevant countries and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), and/or not complying to relevant national and international laws and regulations.
- Unreported Fishing
- Fishing activities that are not reported or are misreported, violating relevant national and international laws and regulations.
- Unregulated fishing
- Fishing activities conducted by vessels without nationality or by those flagged by non-parties of relevant RFMOs, violating relevant rules and regulations and/ or international laws for the conservation of marine resources.
Not only is IUU fishing a serious threat to sustainable management of fishery resources, but also it is a grave global issue, exposing legitimate fishery operators to unfair competition.
Japan’s Engagement against IUU Fishing
Developments Related to the Fisheries Act
In December 2018, the Fisheries Act was amended for the first time in 70 years, and Japan is shifting its focus to managed fisheries with a view to achieving sustainable fisheries. This amended law has taken effect on December 1st, 2020.
And as the second round of the fisheries policy reform following the amendment of the Fisheries Act, the “Bill for the Domestic Trade of Specific Marine Animals and Plants Act” has been passed in the House of Councilors on December 4th, 2020. Designed to deter the importation and distribution of seafood sourced from IUU fisheries, this bill can be considered as an anti-IUU fisheries law. Toward the implementations of the “Catch Documentation Scheme” and the “Domestic Trade of Specific Marine Animals and Plants Act” in two years’ time, detailed frameworks will be discussed.
Japan’s fisheries system is about to change drastically through these engagements in order to realize sustainable fisheries practices.
See the following websites for reference.(Japanese version)