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Illegal Fishing Stories

Diver holding lobsters in ocean.

Working together to protect a fishery in The Bahamas

By all accounts, Glenn Pritchard and Mia Isaacs should be rivals. They each own a seafood processing plant and exporting company in The Bahamas, and both stake a claim to the lucrative spiny lobster business. But one unmatched necessity brings these two competitors together without a second thought: a healthy and robust lobster population in Bahamian waters.

  • It just got harder for illegal fish to make it onto your plate

    The US government released a final rule to increase the transparency around fishing operations and prevent tons of fish from being laundered into the US seafood market, a move more than 400,000 WWF activists took action to support.

    Fish in a basket
  • Population of world's most endangered marine mammal drops 40 percent

    May 13, 2016

    The vaquita porpoise is growing nearer to extinction: Population has declined 40% to around 60 individuals, down from an estimated population of 97 vaquitas in 2014.

    Fins
  • Eyes on the water in Belize

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2016
    In Palencia Village, a loose coalition of people is finding new ways to make a living from nature while protecting their long-held way of life
    Mariko Wallen snorkeling to evaluate staghorn and elkhorn corals at Laughing Bird Caye National Park
  • New US rule proposed to combat black market fishing

    February 04, 2016

    In a critical step forward to stop the trade of illegal and unreported fish in seafood imports, the US government has proposed a new rule for a seafood program that will trace from the moment fish are caught, until they reach the US border.

    trawler too close to shore
  • Oceans under major threat from illegal fishing

    October 29, 2015

    A new WWF report finds more than 85% of global fish stocks in our oceans are at significant risk of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Species affected by illegal fishing varies across the globe – from Bluefin tuna to mackerels, from snow crabs to shrimp, and hundreds of other species.

    bluefin tuna
  • Are We Buying the Fish We Think We’re Buying?

    October 14, 2015

    WWF is urging the US government to establish regulations, including the proposal of a national traceability program to track seafood from the point where it is caught to its entry into the US, under which all species of fish are eventually covered.

    fishermen on a boat
  • Conserving Our Oceans through ‘Sea Scout'

    October 05, 2015

    In another critical step to protect oceans and conserve marine ecosystems, President Obama announced the development of important new tools to combat the global threat of illegal fishing at the ‘Our Oceans’ conference in Valparaiso, Chile. A new global initiative will focus on fisheries enforcement at sea.

    a fishing boat at sea
  • An uncertain future for our living blue planet

    September 15, 2015

    WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report on the health of the ocean finds that the marine vertebrate population has declined by 49 percent between 1970 and 2012. The report tracks 5,829 populations of 1,234 mammal, bird, reptile, and fish species through a marine living planet index. The evidence, analyzed by researchers at the Zoological Society of London, paints a troubling picture. 

    fish swimming in a school
  • Species that Suffer from Illegal Activities on the Ocean

    Illegal activities on the ocean include breaking fishing laws, poaching, ignoring marine protected areas, and polluting. Such actions contaminate or destroy delicate marine habitats—including coral reefs or sea turtle nesting beaches—and they deplete fish populations, upsetting the entire marine food chain. Countless species of marine animals die when accidentally caught in fishing gear; many of these animals are already victims of illegal harvest and trade.

    bluefin tuna
  • Oceans under Threat from Illegal Fishing

    WWF Magazine: Summer 2015
    It’s devastating wild fisheries and undercutting honest fishing communities across the globe.
    Shrimpers work the waters off the Texas coast
  • New US Action Plan to Combat Black Market Fishing

    March 15, 2015

    The Presidential Task Force on Combatting Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud announced its action plan in its efforts to stop the import and sale of IUU seafood products in the United States on March 15, 2015, at the largest seafood show in North America.

    fishing port
  • My Fight to Stop Illegal Fishing

    March 12, 2015

    The topic of illegal fishing—poaching some would say—is personal for WWF's Michele Kuruc; she's been working on the issue in one form or another for almost 30 years. This is her story.

    ocean wave
  • A Community of Champions for Fisheries

    January 21, 2015

    Dalavapuram lies in the Ashtamudi lakes estuary on the southwest coast of India. It is home to a Ramsar Convention site where the intertwined lakes and inlets form a very important estuary system for migratory birds. This is also the home of Ashtamudi short-necked clam fishery, which in November 2014 became the first Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable fishery in India.

    fresh clams
  • A Critical Step in the Fight Against Illegal Fishing

    December 18, 2014

    This week the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud released recommendations to implement a comprehensive system of programs to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

    Fish in net hauled up from water
  • More than 125,000 Americans Urge Obama Administration to End Black Market Fishing

    December 02, 2014

    WWF and more than 125,000 of our US supporters today urged the Obama administration to take strong action to end the global illegal fishing epidemic.

    Fish in net hauled up from water
  • A Promise of Tomorrow for Fish and People in Malaysia

    November 11, 2014

    For generations, nature has provided for the residents of Malaysia’s islands and coasts. But growing demand for seafood throughout the region has left the seas nearly empty. As communities face the reality that fishing is no longer enough to support the economy, they are hoping tourism can create new opportunities.

    Kids-playing-in-water 331504 Malaysia story
  • Infographic: How Illegal Fish Arrives on Your Dinner Plate

    November 06, 2014

    Illegally caught seafood looks the same as any other seafood you buy at a store or in a market, making it extremely difficult for you to tell right from wrong. Try tracing the fish on your plate back to the ship with this infographic. Then, learn how we can fix this process.

    Fishing
  • Illegal Fishing Puts Crab Populations at Risk

    October 16, 2014

    A new WWF study has revealed populations of crab in the Russian Far East are at risk of collapse due to overharvest from illegal fishing.

    pulling in crab pot
  • A Tipping Point for Change

    September 29, 2014

    Illegal fishing is a global problem with serious conservation and social impacts. We need coordinated global solutions to break the link between major import markets—like the US—and international illegal fishing.

    fishermen in chile