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Image: courtesy of TM tracking

Open letter: Insurance tools to close the net on illegal fishing

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing blights marine ecosystems and fishing communities, and costs the global economy more than USD$20 billion annually. This cannot go on.  It must be stopped for the sake of the Ocean – a critical Earth system and bulwark against climate change with a wealth of biodiversity – and to protect countless coastal communities that depend on a healthy Ocean for food security and for their livelihoods. 

There is no silver bullet to ending illegal fishing, and effectively tackling the problem needs innovative solutions and actions by a wide range of actors. But there is a light on the horizon. Working collaboratively, the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance (ORRAA), Global Fishing Watch and TM-Tracking, with support and insight from Oceana and the insurance sector, have developed a cutting-edge technology tool: Vessel Viewer, to enable the insurance industry to crack down on their exposure to illegal fishers.

Vessel Viewer enables underwriters to rapidly secure the information they need to answer whether to insure a vessel. Cutting off access to insurance makes it more costly and risky to operate illegal fishing vessels. Insurers avoid the risk of exposure by unscrupulous clients, reducing the opportunity for illegal fishing and ensuring that they are not legally or reputationally exposed.

Together, we are calling on the insurance industry to join the Vessel Viewer pilot tests that will equip insurers with critical information so that they can decide not to insure suspect vessels.

The insurance industry has a new opportunity to act to deliver a healthier, more abundant and resilient Ocean while reducing their exposure and helping ensure sustainable livelihoods for those who depend on it.

Karen Sack, CEO, ORRAA

Duncan Copeland, Executive Director, TM-Tracking

Tony Long, CEO, Global Fishing Watch

Pascale Moehrle, Executive Director, Oceana in Europe

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