Project Documents





Project Dates

01/03/2005 - 11/02/2020


As demand for fish increases on a global scale, distant water fishing fleets are under increasing pressure to exploit new resources. Such is the demand that large numbers of vessels undertake illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) not only on the high seas but also within exclusive economic zones (EEZ) that are not effectively regulated. To combat these activities which undermine sustainable resource exploitation, coastal states must undertake effective monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS). Developing countries with access to valuable finfish resources can help fund MCS activities via licensing foreign vessels, however, they must determine the extent their own fishing industry should be developed or how much they can benefit from licensing foreign fleets.


Control of Foreign Fishing (CFF) research explores options available to coastal states and seeks to find the optimal combination of fee level, surveillance expenditure and magnitude of legal penalties to minimize the risk of illegal fishing and maximize the benefits accruing to the coastal state. An economic model, developed through previous FMSP research (R4755), was updated for this project. The model facilitates integration of these complex issues so that costs and benefits of different MCS strategies can be assessed. A spreadsheet game of the model was developed and used to raise awareness at a regional workshop of the benefits of maximising licence fee revenues and to improve local capacity in national and regional institutions for developing MCS strategies for CFF.

The model was also used for analysis of national data to produce confidential national case study reports, one each for Tanzania and Kenya, which were presented at meetings held within the Department of Fisheries in each country.

In addition, a review paper of the CFF methodology has been made available to the wider international scientific community, which identifies and describes a range of key parameters considered necessary to evaluate alternative CFF strategies.


National case studies indicated that in the short term potential increases to the total state revenue from foreign fishing activity is more likely to occur from increased compliance and the number of licences sold, rather than a direct increase in licence fee. In the case of Tanzania, this has been shown very recently as a result of MCS surveillance patrols conducted under the SADC MCS programme, which coincided with a sudden increase in purse seine licence applications.

Over the medium to long-term, acquiring additional fishery information should take priority, providing more precise data on the variability and value of the resources taken within the EEZ, by licensed and illegal vessels. Additional surveillance is required to check the veracity of catch reports and make sure there are no unreported incursions at the edge of the zone, as once detection within the EEZ is perceived to be more likely, more licences may be purchased.

Key messages developed from the case studies have been included within Policy briefs to target key stakeholders responsible for managing and overseeing foreign fishing activities in Kenya and Tanzania. A workshop report and a project flyer were also produced and emailed to workshop participants and key stakeholders identified from a project Communications Plan.

The literature review will be submitted to a peer-review journal to further increase uptake and promotion of the CFF approach.