Oceana welcomes ICCAT’s decision to prohibit companies from supporting illegal fishing - Oceana Europe

Oceana welcomes ICCAT’s decision to prohibit companies from supporting illegal fishing

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Irene Campmany +34 682 622 245

Member countries of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) have agreed to investigate and act against businesses that support illegal fishing

Oceana commends the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) for adopting a new rule that will prevent companies from providing services − including insurance, satellite communications or finance −, to officially recognised illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels. The measure, proposed by the European Union and co-sponsored by Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, was adopted at ICCAT’s Annual meeting, which took place from the 14th to the 21st of November.

This outcome replaces a previous rule that only focused on prosecuting individuals or companies directly engaged in illegal fishing activities. The revised measure will expand this focus, empowering ICCAT member countries to take effective and deterrent action against businesses that provide services to vessels on ICCAT’s official illegal vessels list.

This is an important milestone in the fight against illegal fishing. 52 countries have agreed, by consensus, that companies should not be providing any sort of services, including insurance, satellite or financial services, to fishing vessels that operate illegally. ICCAT member countries will now be obligated to investigate and take action against these businessessays Ignacio Fresco Vanzini, Senior Policy Advisor for Illegal Fishing and Transparency at Oceana in Europe.

Even illegal fishers need insurance and other essential services, such as satellite links, vessel maintenance and fuel provision, to conduct their activities. Oceana engages with companies that do business with the fishing sector, developing and providing guidelines that assist companies in identifying and avoiding risks of providing services to vessels that participate in or support illegal fishing. If companies prevent these bad actors from gaining access to their services, they can have a key role in stopping illegal activities at sea. 

Oceana also encourages businesses to introduce policies that increase transparency, such as information-sharing and collaboration among stakeholders, requiring vessels to be registered under an international maritime organisation (IMO) number and to be equipped with and actively use vessel tracking technology. These measures would also help to increase accountability within the fishing sector and promote more sustainable practices. 

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Find out more about the role that service providers can play in preventing IUU fishing in this video