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      Sustainable Development Goals

      Indicator 14.6.1 - Progress by countries in the degree of implementation of international instruments aiming to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

      The indicator focuses on the effort to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) through the effective implementation of key international instruments. This indicator will measure progress towards SDG Target 14.6.

      By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.

      Progress in the degree of implementation of instruments to combat IUU fishing, 2018–2022


      Together with the other indicators under SDG 14, it will form a picture of marine activity giving countries intelligence on optimum levels of fishing, aquaculture expansion and fair and secure access to living aquatic resources.

      Key results

      Countries have made progress in combatting IUU fishing, but a more concerted effort is needed

      IUU fishing is one of the greatest threats to aquatic ecosystems and to the fishers and populations who rely on these resources for their nutrition and livelihoods. It undermines national and regional efforts to manage fisheries sustainably as well as endeavours to conserve marine biodiversity.

      The key to ending IUU fishing once and for all is through cooperation, transparency and compliance. Cooperation between all actors to strengthen individual efforts and foster interlinkages is required. This begins at the national level with inter-institutional cooperation, right through to cooperation between different States, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs working towards this common goal. Transparency is needed, with States sharing information on the identity and compliance history of fishing vessels with relevant actors as well as information to enable the traceability of fish products throughout the value chain. Finally, compliance is needed within the ample international framework covering all steps from the sea to the plate. This includes having in place a strong legislative framework, monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) capacity, together with effective enforcement capacity, which are essential to proper implementation of international instruments aiming to combat IUU fishing.

      The framework of international instruments, developed over the last decades, provides a powerful suite of tools to combat IUU fishing, covering flag, coastal, port and market State responsibilities. The Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) is the first binding international Agreement that specifically targets IUU fishing. It lays down a minimum set of standard measures for Parties to apply when foreign vessels seek entry into their ports or while they are in their ports. In June 2016, the Agreement came into force and as of June 2020, there were 69 Parties to the PSMA, including the European Union as one Party representing its Member States. A remarkable rate of adherence reflecting the importance placed by States in combatting IUU fishing which now include as Party over 50 percent of coastal States.

      Between 2018 and 2020, the average degree of implementation of international instruments to combat IUU fishing has improved across the world. A composite measure of the degree of implementation of the five principal instruments, the world score for SDG indicator 14.6.1 rose from 3/5 to 4/5 over this period. On the basis of their reporting for SDG indicator 14.6.1, States have thus made good progress overall in carrying out the recommended measures to combat IUU fishing, with close to 75 percent scoring highly in their degree of implementation of relevant international instruments in 2020 compared to 70 percent in 2018. Small Island Developing States (SIDS), faced with particular challenges in fully implementing these instruments due to their large amounts of waters under their jurisdiction, registered a medium level of implementation both in 2018 and in 2020. The same level of implementation was found in LDCs between 2018 and 2020, which often face challenges to implement these instruments. In terms of regional groupings, most have either remained at the same level of implementation or improved, the exception being Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) and sub-Saharan Africa.


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