Bangladesh has been positioned 47th on a new global index that ranks countries in terms of their vulnerability, prevalence, and response to illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
Consultancy firm Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime, a Geneva-based NGO network of experts, have developed the index for a detailed analysis of fishery countries’ vulnerability, exposure, and responses to IUU fishing.
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has funded the index.
It has ranked all 152 countries that have a maritime coastline. Bangladesh’s score is 2.41, a little less than the global average of 2.29 (1 the best, 5 the worst).
Overall, the world IUU score is 2.29. Belgium ranks the most favorable on the Index, with a score of 1.43 for all indicators, followed by Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Poland.
China, Indonesia, Russian Federation and Cambodia are each among the 10 worst performing countries for two out of the three indicator types.
This position on the ‘IUU Fishing Index’ serves as a call to action, though it is better than many European countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal and regional powers like Japan, China, and India.
This illegal fishing issue is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Indicator 14.6.1 of SDGs, related to SDG 14 ‘Life Below Water’, is dedicated to measuring achievements made towards the ambitious target of eliminating IUU fishing by 2020.
Updated on a regular basis, this IUU index can serve as a useful addition to the monitoring the SDG indicator, according to its website.
It will also be beneficial to those with management responsibilities in governments and regional fisheries management organisations.
Those wishing to fund activities aimed at reducing IUU fishing, civil society, and consumers, and others, such as seafood buyers, looking to ensure that their sourcing of product responds to an impetus to buy from sustainable sources also use this index data.
Fish is a highly traded commodity and one of the most traded segments of the world food sector.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s leading fish producing countries with a total production of 4.13 million MT. The government’s target is to reach 4.55 million MT by 2020-21.
Bangladesh exports frozen shrimp, other fish and fisheries products to more than 50 countries, including Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, the USA, China, France, Russian Federation, Japan and Saudi Arabia.
In 2016-17, the country earned Tk 42876.40 million by exporting almost 68.31 thousand MT of fish and fisheries products, according to the government statistics.
More than 11 percent of total Bangladeshis are engaged with this sector in full time and part-time basis for their livelihoods.
IUU fishing is a major threat to ocean ecosystems worldwide, undermining efforts to sustainably manage global fisheries and effectively conserve ocean biodiversity.
It is also a noteworthy economic and social disruptor, is detrimental to the legal fishery trade and has been linked to organised crime. The depletion of fish stocks through IUU fishing threatens global food security, along with the livelihoods of some 40 million people who are employed worldwide in capture fishing alone, plus millions more in associated industries.