Legal battle over illegal fishing
European trawlers at Dakar harbour, Senegal
Countries facing depletion of their fisheries by foreign vessels have been thrown a lifeline, with an international tribunal ruling that flag states can be held liable for not taking necessary measures to prevent illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing operations by their vessels in the waters of other countries. With WWF acting as a “friend of the court”, the international tribunal ruled that:
• a flag state must carry out due diligence to ensure its vessels are not engaging in illegal fishing
• coastal states must cooperate to manage shared fish stocks, and to ensure that fisheries are managed sustainably before any access agreement is entered into.
These new tools can help bring back fish to the people who most depend upon the sea for food and livelihoods.