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Global Record of Fishing Vessels Urgently Needed

26 April 2013

GLOBAL - The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is taking action to highlight the urgent need for a Global Record of fishing vessels and the use of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) number as a Unique Vessel Identifier (UVI).

To coincide with the annual European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, the EJF has released a briefing document calling for EU leadership in implementing a Global Record of fishing vessels to improve management and enforcement.

The document shared evidence, that the EJF gathered through its work towards the eradication of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in West Africa, that reveals a compelling need for an international database of industrial fishing vessels, which contains their unique identification numbers and information on their ownership, flag, history, characteristics and fishing authorisations.

EJF is therefore calling on the EU, as the world’s largest seafood market, to show exemplary political leadership to support the establishment of a Global Record of fishing vessels, which is inexpensive when compared to the level of economic, environmental and social impacts of IUU fishing - which leads to estimated global losses of up to US$23.5 billion per year.

The EU could take a commendable lead in promoting the Global Record by requiring EU vessels over 100GT, as well as those exporting or transporting fish to the EU, to have an IMO number as a UVI.

Steve Trent, Executive Director of EJF, commented: “Far greater transparency is urgently needed in marine fisheries and one of the key tools in achieving this is a Global Record of fishing vessels supported by International Maritime Organisation (IMO) numbers as unique identification numbers. Crucially, we now need to see the political leadership required to make it a reality, which is why we are calling for Governments and seafood businesses to pledge their support for a Global Record. We cannot afford to wait any longer to have accurate information about industrial fisheries.”

Struan Stevenson, MEP and Senior Vice President of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, has announced that he supports the establishment of a Global Record, saying: "A global register for all vessels involved in fishing would be relatively easy to introduce and would provide a powerful tool in the war against IUU fishing."

Further support has come fromthe  industry, with the Confederation of Spanish Fisheries (CEPESCA) issuing a press release in support of EJF’s call for a Global Record.

Javier Garat, the Secretary General of CEPESCA, said: “CEPESCA supports the call from the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) for the creation of a universal database of fishing vessels and their unique identification numbers as a means to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing”.

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