Illegal fishing decreases, but some legit fishers are ignoring the rules.

Written by       Photographed by Richard Robinson

Richard Robinson

A study by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency of illegal, unreported and unregulated tuna fishing has found that the problem may not be as bad as was feared. It estimated that between 2017 and 2019, 192,000 tonnes of tuna worth more than US$300 million was caught each year in the Pacific Islands region by people not following fisheries rules—down from 300,000 tonnes in the 2016 estimate.

“The assumption that unlicensed fishing is rampant has been proven false,” says Auckland-based fisheries consultant Francisco Blaha, who contributed to the report. Only five percent of the dodgy dealings involved unlicensed fishing boats. Most—89 per cent—involved licensed operators misreporting which fish they caught, or how many.

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