Funds generated by the sale of fish confiscated from a vessel that had been poaching in the South Georgia and South Sandwich Island’s Fishery Zone (SGFZ) are being put to good use to fight illegal fishing elsewhere in the Southern Ocean.
A conference, aimed at developing regional capacity to combat illegal fishing in Southern Ocean waters, was held at Cape Town, South Africa in late July. It was funded by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) using proceeds the UK had donated from the sale of fish confiscated from an illegal vessel that had been operating in SGFZ several years ago. The same funds were used to support the conference two years ago and this year’s conference was building upon the progress that followed that first workshop.
The workshop was jointly chaired by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Polar Regions Unit and the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It was attended by representatives from 16 coastal African states, as well as regional organisations, and identified a range of practical controls that states could put in place within their ports to reduce illegal fishing activity.
On hearing of the successful conclusion of the workshop, UK Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham said: Illegal fishing is a major global problem: estimates suggest that in some areas illegal fishing accounts for up to 40% of all fish landed, and that the illegal fishing industry is worth up to £15 billion annually. This problem can only be tackled by the international community working together. Initiatives such as this workshop play a vital role in facilitating the commitment and collaboration that are needed for an improved deterrence of illegal fishing (South Georgia News and Events)