Published 24 February 2014


Trade data analysis can unmask illegal fishing activities

Costa Rica, 24th February 2014—Analysis of fisheries trade data provides a highly cost-effective and helpful method for accessing information that can assist in tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the 4th Global Fisheries Enforcement Training Workshop held last week in Costa Rica was told. 

The comments were made by Manuel Castiano – Policy Officer for the Transparent Seas Programme of WWF’s Smart Fishing Initiative, during his presentation to professional fisheries enforcement personnel from across the world, where he introduced the newly redesigned website from TRAFFIC,, which provides information on sourcing, extraction and analysis of trade data. 

According to Markus Burgener, Senior Programme Officer with TRAFFIC: “Knowledge of the trade dynamics for fisheries products is a prerequisite to good management, as it has the ability to shed light on issues such as the source, destination, value and volume of fisheries products in international trade.

“Analysis of trade information is a potentially powerful and cost-effective tool to assess IUU fishing activities and so assist efforts to combat them.”

“This Fisheries Trade Data website aims to show enforcement officers where to look among trade statistics for evidence of criminal activity—the Devil is in the detail.”

The website explains how analysis of trade data can help increase the understanding of the dynamics of the trade in products sourced from IUU fisheries, can provide independent verification of the extent of a known IUU fishing problem or even help reveal new areas of concern, and helps assess the effectiveness of an existing trade and/or market-related measure. It can also assist in determining the value of IUU products in international trade. 

Construction of the website was made possible thanks to the support of the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Norwegian Government’s NORAD. 

For further information, please contact Markus Burgener, Senior Programme Officer for TRAFFIC in East/Southern Africa, at: .