Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing & maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea: How does it affect the UK?

The UK Chamber of Shipping has this month published their report “How the Lack of Security in the Gulf of Guinea Affects the UK’s Economy”.

As the Chamber of Shipping rightly points out, IUU fishing is endemic in the Gulf of Guinea and is a threat to local fisheries and to the food and work security of people in the region.

Fishery depletion, which can be a direct result of repeated IUU fishing activity, has been identified as a contributing factor to instability and to the rising incidence of piracy.

Tuna imports from Ghana could be banned by the EU (photo credit: The Grocer)

Tuna imports from Ghana could be banned by the EU (photo credit: The Grocer)

Other maritime crimes in the region include hijacking of ships, theft at sea, organised crime linked to oil trading and the kidnapping of seafarers.

As the report indicates, maritime insecurity has a direct impact on the UK economy. Not only does it disrupt UK maritime trade and the safety of British people living and working in the region, it also impacts on the ability of UK companies to import goods from the Gulf of Guinea, including oil and LNG.

In respect of fish trade specifically, the UK imports a high volume of tuna from West Africa and the high incidence of illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea means that there is a risk of IUU contamination of UK-bound seafood supply chains.

The report highlights that £60 Million of tuna products from West Africa have been subject to regulatory interventions due to IUU fishing concerns.

Association with IUU fishing has placed Ghana under EU watch for possible sanctions, a situation that puts circa £50m worth of processed seafood imports into the UK at risk.

Full UK Chamber of Shipping report: