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Document: ISSF 2022-08: Combatting IUU Fishing: Continual Improvement and Best Practices for IUU Listing Measures in Tuna RFMOs*

Note: The information in this report is current for 2023. The RFMOs have not made changes to IUU prevention requirements since the report was published in 2022.

To strengthen its efforts to combat IUU fishing activities, the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) requested a review of the IUU fishing listing measures in regional fisheries management organizations responsible for tuna management (t-RFMOs). The purpose of the review was to identify deficiencies and weaknesses in the current IUU listing procedures and develop guidance on best practices to support and strengthen efforts for the conservation and management of tuna resources.

Following a thorough analysis of the IUU fishing listing measures (refer to Analysis of t-RFMO IUU Fishing Listing Measures), the report finds that, overall, the t-RFMOs IUU fishing listing measures are largely consistent, particularly the measures adopted more recently. Key differences include the application of the measures, the activities that constitute IUU fishing, the roles and responsibilities of the groups during the IUU fishing listing process, the extent of the use of intersessional decision-making powers and the range of punitive measures to be taken by t-RFMO members, flag States, port States and coastal States on their own vessels and against a vessel listed as IUU fishing. The differences between the measures are highlighted in the summary table of the t-RFMO IUU fishing listing measures (Table 1).

Best practices on how to strengthen the IUU fishing listing measures are provided in the Recommendations Section. Key elements include standardising the way the measures are drafted to support harmonization between the t-RFMOs; having consistent activities that constitute IUU fishing listing and information to support the listing and punitive measures; implementing a decision-making process that removes the flag State from decisions regarding its own flag vessels; adopting an expanded range of admissible information; and implementing rigorous cross-listing and intersessional processes.

See also our RFMO Best Practices Snapshot on IUU vessel listing.

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