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FAO Revives the International Day to Combat Illegal Fishing

By : Marwa Mahmoud

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are celebrating the International Day to Combat Illegal Fishing, as fisheries are a vital source of food around the world. In a world where people grow and hunger continues, fish have emerged as an important commodity for food security. However, the efforts of the international community to ensure the   fisheries sustainability are in serious danger due to illegal fishing activities.

According to the FAO, these activities are responsible for the loss of 11-26 million tons of fish annually, which has an economic value of 10-23 billion dollars.

To reduce this impact, Goal 4 of Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Action Program urges the international community in particular to “effectively regulate fishing, and stopping overfishing, illegal fishing and destructive hunting practices by 2020.

Achieving this goal requires major efforts to raise awareness and draw the public’s attention to the negative effects of illegal, fishing activities.

In order to conserve fishery resources in the long term, the 1995 FAO Conference adopted the Conduct Code of for Responsible Fisheries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. This code is voluntary and defines the international principles for practicing the correct behavior with the aim of effective conservation.

UN Food and Agriculture Organization conference in 2009 adopted an agreement on the measures taken by the port state to prevent illegal fishing without reporting it. The agreement unifies the minimum measures of the port state to prevent and eliminate illegal fishing without reporting, implementation started with it since June 5, 2016.

In 2015, the General Committee for the Mediterranean Fisheries of FAO proposed the launching of an initiative to announce the International Day to Combat Illegal Fishing without Reporting. The Committee endorsed the proposal to proclaim June 5 each year as the International Day to Combat Illegal, Unreported Fishing.

 Draft proposal was submitted to the fortieth session of the FAO Conference (in July 2017) for approval. In December 2017, the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 72/72, declared June 5 as the International Day to Combat Illegal Fishing.

General Assembly also announced the adoption of 2022 as the International Year of Fisheries and Aquaculture, which will help focus attention on small-scale fishers and fishermen who represent 90% of the total workforce in the field of marine fishing globally.