This project examined the extent and impacts on developing countries of illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing on the high seas, using empirical information available from the literature and by examining case studies of 10 developing countries around Africa and in Oceania which are currently suffering from differing levels of IUU fishing. Case studies included Angola, Guinea (Conakry), Liberia, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Seychelles, and Papua New Guinea.

The project pursued three main outputs:

1) An impact analysis of IUU fishing including economic, social, environmental, ecological, biological, health and nutritional impacts, and recommendations on potential mitigation measures from the developing country perspective;

2) Empirical assessment of issues related to ecosystems management, the extent and ecological impact of high seas IUU fishing;

3) A technical workshop combined with ‘key event’ for raising the political profile and defining mitigation measures and options for tackling IUU.

The study estimated the total first sale value of IUU fishing worldwide at between $2.4 billion and $9.5 billion over the period 2003-5, an economic loss that could otherwise be taken by the coastal state. The case studies revealed that tuna and mixed shrimp/demersal fisheries were the two principal fisheries affected by IUU fishing. A primary environmental problem resulting from IUU is the over-exploitation of stocks as associated catches may not be accurately incorporated (if at all) into stock assessments. Additional problems highlighted include high levels of discards and bycatch; however, these were determined to be relatively minor compared to their extent within legitimate fisheries. The major obstacle faced by developing countries in tackling IUU is the provision of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) directed to distant water fleets.

Name of Client

Department for International Development (DFID)

Project Dates



Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Kenya, Seychelles & Papua New Guinea