Illegal activities hurt our oceans, harming wildlife, people and ocean resources. And there is no single solution to fix the problem. Given the complexity of the issue, we must use all the tools available to combat illegal activity. WWF identifies six essential components of a global strategy to fight illegality on the oceans:
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Around the world, we need treaties ratified; updated domestic laws in place; requirements of proof of legality and traceability of seafood; anti-corruption initiatives; and the political will to make it all happen. WWF is working to engage key US government stakeholders around a policy solution that clearly details a system of legality and traceability to prevent illegally caught seafood from entering into the US marketplace.
Effective enforcement involves investigators, lawyers, and judges. Together they must implement the legal frameworks (governance) and ensure supply chains are free of illegal products. A recent WWF study of Russian crab revealed rampant illegal fishing and demonstrated the need for stronger enforcement at ports, at sea and throughout the supply chain.
We need communication among agencies within the country and between countries. Information must be shared beyond formal government-to-government channels and coordinated across sectors. For example, WWF brought together environmental, science, and business leaders to develop a global framework on seafood traceability.
Finding ways to handle large amounts of data, monitor activities far out at sea, and track and control seafood through the supply chain are urgently needed. WWF provides essential information for experts through online databases and we promote innovation through supporting an illegal fishing deterrence contest and hackathons to develop mobile apps and other tech-based tools for fishermen and governments.
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