Indicator: CO-19 Estimated tonnage taken by illegal fishing; estimated number of illegal boats, estimated number of individuals of threatened species taken

Data

Apprehensions by Month
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 Total/Month
Jan 5 3 7 10 3 12 17 57
Feb 0 3 1 2 13 6 25 50
Mar 9 9 8 4 5 10 10 55
Apr 4 8 3 18 13 9 35 90
May 2 3 0 4 33 20 12 74
Jun 0 6 1 0 4 8 8 27
Jul 1 4 7 3 2 13 3 33
Aug 0 4 3 3 9 12 8 39
Sep 15 8 13 15 16 13 25 105
Oct 12 17 19 18 22 29 54 171
Nov 8 11 8 24 13 19 13 96
Dec 4 1 10 10 6 10 41
TOTAL/Year 60 77 80 111 139 161 210 628

Source: Australian Fisheries Management Authority, provided at request of SoE 2006 Committee.

The number of vessels apprehended for illegally fishing in Australian waters has more than trebled between 1999 and 2005.

No data on tonnage or number of individuals taken by illegal fishing operations are available.

What the data mean

Meaningful indicators for the pressures of illegal fishing on fish stocks and ecosystems more generally have not been identified. Ideally such indicators would show numbers, weights and species of marine animal illegally taken and how impacts of these pressures compare with those of (lawful) commercial fishing.

The above indicators provide some baseline for estimating the contribution of illegal fishing to pressures on the condition of marine biodiversity and the effectiveness of responses, but need to be treated with caution. The increase in number of vessels apprehended may indicate increased surveillance and/or effort to apprehend, rather than increased illegal activity. Likewise a decline in estimated illegal vessels could be indicative of effective responses, declining fish stocks or simply decreased surveillance.

Data Limitations

Without estimates on tonnage, number and species taken by illegal fishing, time series data on number of boats, either apprehended or estimated to be operating in Australian waters, do not mean a great deal.

Issues for which this is an indicator and why

Coasts and Oceans — Direct pressure of human activities on coasts and oceans - Pressure of fishing 

The suggested indicators, read collectively, would provide some baseline for estimating the contribution of illegal fishing to pressures on the condition of marine biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Pressures on biodiversity - Pressures on marine biodiversity: pressures of fishing 

All forms of fishing, including illegal fishing, place pressure on marine biodiversity. The suggested indicators, read collectively, would provide some baseline for estimating the contribution of illegal fishing to pressures on the condition of marine biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Biodiversity — Utilisation and value of biodiversity - Harvesting and trade in wildlife 

Harvesting of wild fish, including illegal fishing, is the principal commercial harvesting of wild animals in Australia.

Other indicators for this issue:

Australian Antarctic Territory — Environment - Human Pressures on the environment 

All forms of fishing in Antarctic waters, including illegal fishing, place pressure on marine biodiversity. The suggested indicators, read collectively, would provide some baseline for estimating the contribution of illegal fishing to pressures on the condition of marine biodiversity, including Antarctic biodiversity.

Other indicators for this issue:

Further Information