Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing refers to any type of fishing activity that occurs both at high seas and within national jurisdictions that contravenes national laws and regulations, the conservation and management measures of Regional Fishery Management Organisations and, where applicable, international law. IUU fishing is a particularly harmful activity, as it impedes progress towards long-term sustainability by undermining national and regional efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks.
Seafood provides sustenance for billions of people worldwide, with approximately 3 billion people relying on seafood as their primary source of protein. Fish and fish products play a significant role in nutrition, containing many of the vitamins and minerals needed to address some of the most severe and widespread nutritional deficiencies. Even in small quantities, fish contains essential amino acids, fats, iron, vitamin D, and calcium. (FAO and WHO, 2011).
As such, fisheries provide a vital source of food, employment, recreation, trade, and economic wellbeing for millions of people globally, and will continue to contribute significantly to food security in light of the ever-growing global population.
Despite our reliance on fishing, efforts to ensure the sustainability of fisheries are being severely compromised by illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities. This is why in December 2017, the UN General Assembly declared 5 June as the "International Day for the Fight Against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing", and has promised to dedicate 2022 to the millions of small scale fishermen and women worldwide.
The fight against IUU fishing is more important than ever due to the critical danger it poses to marine ecosystems, sustainable fishing, and the conservation of marine biodiversity. With local fisheries, particularly those in developing countries most vulnerable to collapse due to resource mismanagement caused by IUU fishing, the problem becomes a social issue, threatening livelihoods, exacerbating poverty, and worsening food insecurity in the most vulnerable locations.
Those engaged in IUU fishing often exploit weak management regimes and take advantage of corrupt administrations, and can even be associated with organised crime, hence why tackling the issue requires a cohesive, joined up approach by all industry stakeholders.
How can Pole Star help?
Pole Star is widely recognised as a leading provider of fisheries Vessel Monitoring Systems (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, and have provided VMS services to several clients, including:
In the past, we have also worked with the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), and the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
We work closely with our Government and flag state clients to provide cutting edge technologies to help mitigate against IUU practices and implement seafood traceability solutions for fisheries compliance.
Pole Star provides 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.