U.S. Expands its Measures to Combat IUU Fishing with the Global Record

June 05, 2019

In the fight against IUU fishing activities, the United States uses multiple tools to tackle the problem with the goal of leveling the playing field for U.S. fishermen. The Global Record is expanding our nation’s capabilities in this fight.

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The fishing vessel Yin Yuan is sighted in the North Pacific Ocean May 22, 2014.

The global fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is challenging, but we are making progress. The United States is developing and implementing regulations that make it harder for seafood products associated with illegal, or fraudulent practices to enter our markets. We are increasingly supporting international measures, like the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels (the Global Record) to collect and verify information to improve the likelihood that illegal products will be detected. 

IUU fishing threatens valuable natural resources that are critical to global food security and puts law-abiding fishermen and seafood producers at a disadvantage. Fisheries authorities and regional fisheries management organizations face many obstacles in detecting and combating IUU fishing. One such obstacle is a lack of access to core information on fishing vessel identification, ownership, control and activity. The Global Record was launched in 2018 by the Food and Agricultural Organization and is partially funded by NOAA Fisheries. It is a collaborative, global initiative to make available reliable data from authorities about vessels and vessel-related activities. This makes it much more difficult and expensive for vessels and companies acting illegally to do business. 

How does the Global Record work?

Fishing vessels have names and registration numbers, much like cars have license plates. However, the owner of a fishing vessel can easily change its name, registration number, call sign or flag. This means vessels can move about at will, change flag and identity, and owner and operator details. This makes it harder for authorities to track illegal vessels.

An essential part of the program is the unique vessel identifier. The Global Record uses a vessel’s International Maritime Organization number as the UVI. It is a permanent number that stays with a vessel from construction to disposal, regardless of the vessel’s flag or where it operates. This allows authorities to monitor a vessel’s activities and track compliance throughout its lifespan. More than 23,000 fishing vessels worldwide currently have an IMO number, and this number is growing.

The Global Record provides a single access point for information on vessels used for fishing and fishing-related activities. It gives countries a comprehensive and updated public database with core information about these vessels’ identities and operations

The United States’ international work to combat IUU fishing  

NOAA Fisheries has been a key supporter of Global Record, working with our international partners, in its launch and development. In the fight against IUU fishing activities, the United States uses multiple tools to tackle the problem, with the goal of leveling the playing field for U.S. fishermen. The Global Record is expanding our nation’s capabilities in this fight.

Working with other U.S. government agencies, foreign governments and entities, international organizations, non-government organizations, and the private sector is crucial to effectively combat IUU fishing.  Learn more about our international efforts to combat IUU fishing.

 

Insight

Understanding Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing

IUU fishing is a global problem threatening ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries. Learn more about IUU fishing and NOAA’s role in combating these activities.

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Last updated by Office of International Affairs & Seafood Inspection on September 19, 2019