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A busy week in Malta has just kicked off. On one hand, the town of Saint Julian's will host the world’s premier conference on seafood sustainability: “Seaweb Seafood Summit” and on the other, there will be the “Economic advice in fisheries management” conference, taking place between February 4th and 5th. Oceana in Europe will attend both events, presenting results from the recently launched www.whofishesfar.org  at the latter.

Created by Oceana and its partner NGOs, the online fisheries database www.whofishesfar.org has revealed that 15,264 EU vessels were authorised to fish outside EU waters between 2010 and 2014. The database is the first-ever global transparency website and undoubtedly a milestone towards transparency in fisheries.  

Increased transparency is crucial in the fight against IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing, where EU is a big player for the fact of being the largest importer of fisheries products in the world. Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of IUU fish are caught annually and IUU fishing practice represents a major loss of revenue to global fisheries. To stop IUU products from arriving into Europe, the EU IUU regulation was implemented in 2010, but the work is far from done.

This tough legislation created to fight against IUU fishing has already contributed greatly to prevent IUU products from entering the plates of EU consumers.  However, it requires an effective implementation and full participation of all 28 Member states to become a fully powerful tool in ending illegal fishing, say NGOs in a recent analysis.

Let’s hope that further analysis of the database will bring more success stories in the global fight against illegal fishing.

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