On Friday 20 November, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Marine Management Organisation (MMO) co-hosted a workshop on ensuring global compliance with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing regulations, demonstrating the UK’s continued lead in the fight against illegal fishing.
The workshop was attended by key UK insurance industry bodies. As a global financial hub, London based insurers play a crucial role in cracking down on IUU fishing: uninsured vessels engaged in the trade are severely curtailed in their ability to trade in illegally caught fish.
Working together with private sector partners, the MMO and FCO are targeting not just those directly involved in illegal fishing, but all individuals and companies who derive economic benefit from the practice. Today’s workshop ensures UK companies are aware of, and adhere to, the requirements of IUU legislation and understand the risks associated with insuring vessels which participant in unlawful fishing.
Speaking in support of the UK’s work to tackle IUU fishing, FCO Minister James Duddridge said:
The UK Government continues to strive to protect oceans, both at home and our Overseas Territories, developing well-managed and protected waters which coastal communities are so reliant on. Many UK businesses – such as the insurance industry – have a global reach, and as such we must ensure that they understand and are compliant with international obligations to which the UK is a signatory. We welcome to work undertaken by the MMO, which further restricts the ability of unlawful vessels to operate around the globe.
IUU fishing is a global problem that goes well beyond the direct damage done to fish stocks, it threatens the very foundation of ocean ecosystems. IUU fishing causes significant environmental damage, considerable economic losses, and has wider impacts on the livelihoods and food security of coastal populations.
The UK is a world leader in the protection of marine life, acting on a global scale extending not just to the waters around the UK mainland but equally around the 14 Overseas Territories (OTs). For example, the world’s largest contiguous marine protected area (MPA) exists around the British Indian Ocean Territory; and the current Government has committed to the creation of a ‘Blue Belt’ around all OTs, subject to local support and environmental need.