An index launched in February this year scores countries according to their degree of exposure to and quality of response towards illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Out of the 152 coastal states assessed worldwide, the Philippines is among the countries with the highest illegal fishing index. Within the global center for marine biodiversity and the global priority for conservation that is the ‘Coral Triangle’, the Philippines ranks the worst followed by Indonesia, Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and the Solomon Islands.
Considering other geographical regions, the Philippines ranks fourth (4th) in Southeast Asia and seventh in the Asia-Pacific Region. Worldwide, the Philippines ranks thirteenth (13th) while its neighboring country the People’s Republic of China has the highest/worst score. Access the detailed report on the Philippines’ IUU fishing index here – IUU Fishing Index Country Profile.
The findings of the IUU Fishing Index are critical for the Philippines because the country has one of the richest marine biodiversity and also has one of the most abundant aquatic resources in the world. The Philippines is even described as the “epicenter of the center of marine biodiversity in the world”. Hence, the unresolved and rampant IUU fishing in the country shall, without doubt, cause detrimental effects to the Philippine waters and its resources.
The Philippines having a high score in the IUU Fishing Index means that the nation should immediately implement effective fisheries management and must make progress on reforming global fishing subsidies to save the Philippine waters. According to the 2016 SOFIA report published by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, around 60 percent of the world’s assessed fish stocks are fully exploited and 30% are already overexploited. The Philippines is no exception to these statistics.
IUU fishing robs economies and societies of catches worth billions of dollars each year. It has huge environmental impacts on fish stocks through impairing scientific research and fisheries management efforts. It helps prevent governments and regional fisheries management organizations from achieving sustainable fisheries. The elimination of IUU fishing is an internationally agreed target under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. |
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