Policy Brief

Illegal and Unreported Fishing in Arab Zones

Arab waters have high fisheries production potential, stretching from Mauritania and Morocco’s coasts to the Atlantic Ocean on the West to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean on the East through the Mediterranean Sea, in addition to several gulf streams and rivers like the Nile and the Euphrates. Fisheries could play an important role in developing economies of the region and in meeting increased food demand. However, the fishery industry is not well developed and has been suffering from many issues mainly from Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. This paper aims to assess illegal fishing by European vessels in Arab waters, focusing on the most affected countries by IUU fishing. We will also be trying to analyze the multifaceted cause roots and impacts of IUU fishing on Arab marine resources and the economy as a whole, as well as the limits of both international agreements and most of Arab states’ capacity to counter illegal fishing mainly from foreign vessels.

IUU fishing accounts for 20 percent of the world catch and up to 50 percent in some areas. IUU fishing is a serious threat, not only toward sustainable fishing in Arab waters, but to the entire economic and social balance within the concerned states. However, it does destroy local fisheries and wrecks coastal populations, proving vulnerable trend mainly in the developing countries, thus exacerbating poverty, social tensions and increases inequalities between developed and developing countries.