World unites to combat illegal fishing

Fisheries ministers from around world have gathered in Oslo, and more than 50 countries were represented today when Norwegian Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg opened the first meeting of the parties to an international agreement on combating illegal fishing.

Fiskeriminister Per Sandberg på talerstol. Åpner internasjonalt møte mot fiskerikriminalitet.

- Illegal fishing is theft from the community. It is theft from our common food pantry, and a threat to the resources of the sea. And it distorts competition in a way that harms the honest players in the fishing industry, said Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Mr Per Sandberg.

According to the World Bank, the global fisheries sector is losing some NOK 695 billion each year. That is how much more the fisheries sector could earn if fishing were conducted sustainably, with long-term use of the resources safeguarded.

- The fight against illegal fishing has been under way for several years, but now we have a legal weapon that will make it even less attractive to fish illegally. With more and more countries now refusing to let vessels land illegally caught fish, the world has taken an important step towards more sustainable use of the oceans, Mr Sandberg said.

The internationally binding Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, which entered into force in 2016, is the first global agreement aimed at preventing and eliminating illegal fishing. Norway has been a strong advocate of the agreement.