Every year World Fisheries Day celebrates the importance of fisheries to marine life, fishing communities, and billions of lives across the globe. However, with the turn of a new decade approaching, marine and inland fisheries have reached a pivotal moment. While they make an ever-increasing and crucial contribution to food and livelihood, there is a continuing decrease in the number of fish stocks caught within biologically sustainable levels.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations leads international efforts towards ensuring food security and defeating hunger, but with one third of the world’s fish stocks being overfished, the sustainability of industrial fishing is being thrown into question. Not only this, but 26 million tonnes of seafood are caught illegally every year, increasing the detrimental effects of overfishing which include degraded ecosystems and a decrease in food and economic security. If fish stocks continue to be overexploited, it calls into question how 3 billion people across the globe, who rely on fish as their primary source of protein, will maintain healthy diets.
In addition to scarcity of food, continuing at this irresponsible rate of overfishing would lead to a reduction in marine biodiversity, causing irreversible damage to our oceans and their ecosystems. If this were to happen, the lifespan of the global fishing industry would be limited, placing over 200 million jobs and livelihoods at risk.
But it’s not just about the fish; workers in illegal fisheries are suffering too. Fishing is considered one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, with over 32,000 fatalities every year. There are also many cases of human and workers’ rights violations too, with an estimated 5.8 million fishermen and women in the world earning under $1 per day. Such statistics emphasise the unsustainable nature of illegal and unregulated fishing, for lives both in and out of the water.
The FAO and UN are working with organizations all over the world to control overfishing by creating sustainable fisheries and enforcing preventative measures to slow and stabilise declining stocks. This partly involves monitoring and reporting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing, which refers to activities that are not compliant with fisheries management measures. Examples of this include:
- Fishing without a license, keeping undersized fish, or engaging in transhipment of fish.
- Fishing in areas with no applicable national, regional, or international conservation or management measures.
- Not properly recording fishing activity, due to lack of data collection or poor management.
What are we doing to help?
Pole Star is widely recognised as a leading provider of fisheries Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), Vessel Tracking Unit (VTU), and satellite airtime (VMS reporting services) to the regulatory and commercial fisheries sector.
Since 1998 we have continued to serve multiple government agencies, RFMOs, fishing companies, and fishermen worldwide. Today, we support the wider fisheries sector providing services to various agencies including, North and South America, as well as Australia and in the past have worked with the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) as well the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
We provide a broad array of business applications, satellite communications services, and specialised VMS hardware kits to industry. Over 2500 VMS users utilise our services presently and are backed up by a dedicated and professionally seasoned team of in-country professionals.
For more information on Pole Star VMS services, click here.