FAO Workshop on Estimating IUU February 2015

Summary of FAO Expert Workshop

to estimate the magnitude of

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing globally

2-4 February 2015, Tragliata, Italy

(PDF Version)


In recognizing that a decade has lapsed since the original study “The Global Extent of Illegal Fishing” was published and various instruments promoting combatting IUU fishing were adopted, the FAO considered that it was opportune to convene an Expert Workshop to develop the methodology to estimate IUU fishing globally and follow on actions associated with data collection and analysis. A new estimate of global IUU fishing will allow FAO and its Members to more effectively understand the current extent of IUU fishing.

Workshop Objectives

Bringing together an international cross-section of experts involved in counter-IUU fisheries work to exchange information, review previous literature and methods to estimate IUU fishing, and develop a FAO methodology for a study to estimate the extent of IUU fishing.

Workshop Agenda

List of Participants

Summary of Conclusions

  • One study or multiple studies?
    The Workshop agreed on multiple studies (by region, species, fleet, etc) To this end, a time frame should be identified and technical guidelines be drawn up ensuring that studies would be drawn up in a way that would allow to integrate estimated IUU fishing by region or fishery into a global estimate. In fact, the global estimation of IUU fishing should become an open dynamic process to which all interested parties and experts may contribute.
    The option of a single study based on extrapolations of results from limited data sets, such as the original study, was discarded (scale too large, granularity too low, budget)
  • Methodology
    The Workshop agreed not to proceed to minimum conditions to which any studies should conform (for example on robustness of estimations of IUU fishing) but rather to offer a set of Guidelines as a best practice on how to conduct an IUU assessment. When proceeding to new studies any authors might be inspired by such guidelines or make other decisions. As long as each study clarifies clearly its scope, points out the IUU fishing to be estimated and reflects clearly the decisions taken by the author on methodology and assessment, the results would be useful for an overall estimate of IUU fishing. Indeed, instead of achieving minimum standards, the authors of studies should clarify explicitly their choices of methods, their considerations around data quality, data sources, whether and how data are combined as well as any uncertainties. The guidelines will include a chapter on data output format for sharing.
  • Estimation of I-U-U separately or together (overlapping, double counting)
    The Workshop concluded that the different elements of IUU should not be separated. IUU is a generally accepted concept which has proved its usefulness. Breaking up this concept in separate elements would cause confusion (as an example where reporting is a legal obligation “non-reported” fishing is covered by the I of illegal and not by the U of unreported which makes it difficult to understand what is I and what is U). All studies should be consistent with the definitions set out in the IPOAIUU. The Guidelines to be developed would contain explanatory language including examples of IUU fishing covering not only illegal activities by operators under national law but also the situation where international obligations have not been incorporated in national legislation.
  • Scope of studies assessing IUU fishing
    • Inclusion of inland fishing
      The IPOAIUU is not limited to marine fishing. So far, estimates of IUU fishing related to inland fisheries have not been drawn up because data sets were not available or have not been explored. Meanwhile more information seems to be available and, therefore, when any estimates of IUU fishing related to inland waters (for example Lake Victoria in Africa) become available, such studies should not be excluded from this exercise. These studies should be developed in accordance with the same guidelines as marine fisheries. At a later stage consideration could be given to the way in which such estimates should be integrated in a global estimate of IUU fishing.
    • Exclusion of aquaculture
      The estimation of IUU fishing in line with the IPOAIUU focusses on capturing fish from wild stocks (extraction). Aquaculture is in principle excluded. However, analysis of aquaculture based on capturing fish from wild stocks (eel, BFT) may form part of studies assessing IUU fishing.
    • Exclusion of subsistence and coastal fisheries
      Some discussion took place whether small-scale fisheries should not be excluded from this exercise for example by establishing a threshold. It was agreed not to do so. All IUU fishing should be assessed and included in a global estimate. A large number of small operators may have a significant impact in terms of IUU and, therefore, sustainable exploitation of living resources including for example where species listed in CITES are targeted by such operators. The aim of the IPOAIUU is to support States to take action against IUU fishing; excluding certain operators or fleets from the estimation of IUU fishing may trigger a wrong signal.
  • Who should undertake the global estimate of IUU fishing?
    The Workshop concluded that the FAO has a mandate to draw up not only technical guidelines but also to undertake estimations of IUU fishing (in the framework of the IPOAIUU and its mandate to compile statistics). Therefore, for this purpose, FAO is the most appropriate body at a global level (in carrying out these duties, as always, the FAO as a global authority will draw up robust and credible estimates. In this context FAO will never point to individual States or get involved in problems between States since it has no mandate for monitoring compliance).
    Experience has shown that RFMOs and States are very efficient in producing estimates of IUU fishing related to non-contracting party and foreign vessels but as regards their own vessels the contrary is a more realistic conclusion. Although experts from RFMOs could play a role in studies, the studies should better not be agreed or adopted by RFMOs.

Workshop Outputs

The Workshop advised to set up an open dynamic system to which all parties and experts can contribute by undertaking assessment of IUU fishing. On the basis of the available studies, the FAO will compile an overall estimate of the extent of IUU fishing.

FAO will proceed to:

  • a study of past and existing studies on estimating the extend of IUU fishing
  • technical guidelines setting out a best practice on how to conduct an IUU assessment.

The above work should be ready before the next FAO-COFI meeting (April 2016?)

The Guidelines will be drawn up by 4 to 6 experts from different backgrounds (including MCS) and subsequently submitted to a peer review of a wider group of experts. The FAO will take advantage of the role of key informants in the development of the guidelines and, in this context, is counting also on technical assistance from the International MCS Network.

The Workshop drafted an introduction for the technical guidelines together with a non-exhaustive list of IUU elements as well as a table of content.

Any studies on assessment of IUU fishing will feed into either technical reports of the FAO or SOFIA (biannual report on the state of the world fisheries). It was suggested that the FAO proceeds once per decade to a global estimate of IUU fishing and every second year to updates of the estimation of IUU fishing in key fisheries/areas (where complete data sets are available and robust estimations can be made) to be included in SOFIA.

Workshop Agenda

(Draft) AGENDA

of the Expert Workshop to estimate the magnitude of

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing globally

2-4 February, 2015, Rome, Italy

Venue: Borgo di Tragliata, Rome, Italy

(PEW provided financial support which allowed FAO to convene the Workshop)

Day 1, Monday 2 February

08h30 – 10h00 Registration of participants

10h00 – 10h15 Tea/coffee break

10h15 – 10h45 Opening and Welcome remarks by

Árni Mathiesen (ADG, FI)

Joe Zelasney (Pew Charitable Trusts)

10h45 – 12h00 Introductions, objectives of workshop, future study , and workshop planning (Secretary, Frank Chopin)

Intended output: Participants have collectively agreed the objective of the workshop, and the workshop agenda which makes best use of time and will result in the required workshop outputs.

12h00 – 13h30 Buffet Lunch

13h30 – 15h15 Topic 1: How to define and distinguish between I, U, and U fishing for the purposes of the future study1 (Chair, Blaise Kuemlangan.

Panelists: Martin Tsmenyi, Mathew Camilleri)

Intended output of Topic 1 discussions: Participants have discussed in plenary and arrived at differentiated operational definitions of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing to inform and guide the methodology in the future study.

15h15 – 15h30 Tea/coffee break

15h30 – 17h30 Topic 1 Cont.: How to define and distinguish between I, U, and U fishing for the purposes of the future study2

19h00 – Drinks and dinner (continuing informal discussions on I, U and U fishing)

1 See Background Paper 1;
2 See Background Paper 1 1

Day 2, Tuesday 3 February

08h45 – 09h45 Topic 2: Other ongoing/planned studies to estimate IUU and their methodologies (Chair, Alicia Mosteiro. Panelists: Roberto Mielgo (Fishspektrum / ODI project), John Pearce (FFA / BOBLME study), Duncan Copeland (Fish-I Africa project), Glenn Quelch (EFCA), Stefan Asmundsson (NEAFC))

Intended output of Topic 2: Participants have been briefed on other ongoing work, and can assess the relevance of such work to the FAO study in terms of methodological approaches and potential incorporation of estimates of IUU fishing into the FAO study.

09h45-10h00 Coffee

10h00 – 12h00 Topic 3: Methodological options and data issues for estimating IUU fishing globally3 (Chair, Alejandro Anganuzzi. Panelists: David Agnew, others TBD)

Intended output of Topic 3 discussions: Participants have considered methodological options for the future study, their robustness, their data requirements, and the potential applicability to different ‘units of study’ for scaling up to global level.

12h00 – 13h30 Lunch

13h30 – 15h30 Topic 3 continuation (Chair, Alejandro Anganuzzi. Panelists: David Agnew, others TBD)

15h30-16h00 Tea/Coffee

16h00 – 17h30 Topic 4: Planning for the study to estimate IUU fishing

Session 1: Agreeing the methodological questions to be answered on Day 34 (Chair, Matthew Camilleri and facilitators (TBD)

Intended output of Topic 4, Session 1: Breakout session will determine the questions that need to be answered on Day 3 in order to structure a study effectively, considering the conclusions from sessions 1-3.Plenary feedback and discussion will categorize the questions, and parcel them out to breakout groups that will meet in the morning of day 3.

19h00 – Drinks and dinner

3 See Background Paper 2
4 See Background Paper 3.2

Day 3, Wednesday 4 February

08h30 – 10h30 Topic 4: Planning for the study to estimate IUU fishing (continuation)

Session 2: Answering the questions specified during Topic 4 Session 1 on Day 2. (Chair, David Agnew Panelists TBD)
Intended output of Topic 4, Session 2: Breakout group deliberations will have answered the questions and reported back the answers in plenary

10h30 – 10h45 Coffee

10h45 – 12h15 Topic 4: Planning for the study to estimate IUU fishing (continuation)

Session 3: Methodological structure of the future project based on the breakout group deliberations (Chair, David Agnew, others TBD)

Intended output of Topic 4, Session 3: Based on Sessions 1 and 2, plenary discussion will arrive at recommendations about the methodology to be used in the future study, noting potential challenges and proposing solutions/risk mitigation strategies.

12h15 – 13h30 Lunch

13h30 – 15h00 Topic 4: Planning for the study to estimate IUU fishing (continuation)

Session 4: Organizational issues associated with the future study (Chair, Frank Chopin, others TBD)

Intended output of Topic 4, Session 4: As much detailed guidance has been provided as possible on issues to be included in a project design document, to be prepared during a detailed study design phase, such as: study logframe; study timeline; study budget and funding sources; workplan/phasing of activities; implementation partners/modalities; oversight mechanisms; and terms of reference.

15h00 – 15h30 Workshop closing and final remarks
Frank Chopin

The International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Network aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of fisheries-related MCS activities through enhanced cooperation, coordination, information collection and exchange among national organizations and institutions responsible for fisheries-related MCS.