New guidance to keep ‘pirate' fishing out of UK supply chains

30 March 2015

A report containing eight recommendations for buyers and retailers to help keep illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing out of UK supply chains has been published.

The guidance has been developed by the British Retail Consortium, Environmental Justice Foundation and WWF UK.

IUU, also known as ‘pirate’ fishing, leads to global economic losses of up to $23.5 billion a year, and accounts for around 26 million tonnes of fish.

The eight recommendations include calls for the EU to centrally coordinate a database of fish catches and requirements for large fishing vessels to carry a unique identification to enable satellite tracking.

IUU fishing poses a long term threat to marine conservation and has strong implications of human rights abuses, with workers on vessels being subjected to extreme working conditions and, in some cases, enslavement.

As well as providing advice on building legal, sustainable fisheries, the guide details actions to support a more rigorous monitoring of working conditions aboard fishing fleets globally and highlights steps that should be taken to help ensure that goods produced under exploitative conditions do not enter the EU market.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the BRC, said: “As the largest seafood importer in the world by value, the EU has the potential to change behaviour through commercial incentives and international trade.

“Current EU IUU regulations are being unevenly implemented; more needs to be done in the UK to ensure success."

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