Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is a significant transnational crime problem that costs developing nations from $2 to $15 billion in economic losses annually. Perpetrators include established organized crime groups and commercial fishers, while the incidence of IUU fishing is often shaped by public corruption. Various economic drivers, such as the exceptionally high value of some species, and the Flag of Convenience (FOC) system of vessel registration contribute to the significance of the problem. Negative environmental impacts involve the depletion of fish stocks, damage to coral reefs, and stress on marine mammals and birds. Social and economic impacts are severe as well, and are most especially prevalent in developing nations. Theoretically, IUU fishing may be viewed as arising and proliferating due to “criminogenic asymmetries,” especially evident in the uneven patchwork of international laws governing the world’s oceans. A broad range of public and private responses have thus far generated limited success in thwarting IUU fishing.
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