Under the auspices of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the Indian Navy held a seminar on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Goa on November 2, 2022.
Nearly 35% of the world’s population depends on the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), the third-largest ocean in the world. Fish and fishing are crucial links in the chain of food security. These also have a major impact on the socioeconomic development of the country. IUU fishing practises substantially jeopardise sustainable fishing, which makes them a major source of worry for the IOR littorals. As a result, the IORA Working Group on Maritime Safety and Security (WGMSS), which was established in September 2018, recognised this as an issue that needs more collaboration.
The IORA Action Plan 2017-2021, adopted by IORA Member States, is currently being advanced by the WGMSS, which is currently being chaired by Sri Lanka.
Under the direction of the Ministry of External Affairs and with the proper support from the Department of Fisheries, which is part of the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy, among other agencies of the Indian Government, the Indian Navy organised the seminar on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.
A total of 14 of the 23 IORA Member States were represented at the Seminar, including Bangladesh, Comoros, France, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Seychelles, Tanzania, and Thailand.
The participants reviewed the scope of IUU fishing activities in the IOR, discussed the detrimental effects of such developments on marine ecosystems, discussed legal gaps in addressing these activities, and deliberated on cooperative strategies and capacity building measures that the IORA Member States could pursue in order to mitigate the threat of IUU Fishing in the IOR.
This year, IORA celebrates its 25th anniversary since its founding in 1997. As a founding member of IORA, India is still dedicated to the organization’s goals of fostering regional cooperation in order to promote a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indian Ocean Region.