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Fishy Business: estimating the impact of irregular and unsustainable fishing of distant-water fishing fleets in Ecuador, Ghana, Peru, the Philippines and Senegal

Research report

Written by Miren Gutierrez, Alberto Lemma, Guillermo Gutiérrez, César Montenegro

Image credit:Fishing trawler coming back to port. mjstudio.lt/Shutterstock Image license:Standard License

Fishy Business is the first study to estimate the impact of distant-water fishing businesses with a previous track record of unsustainability on the economies, employment and well-being of five countries: Ecuador, Ghana, Peru, the Philippines and Senegal.

It does this by investigating the scale, form and behaviour of the domestic and foreign fleets operating within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of these five countries. In doing so, it fills a crucial knowledge gap in fisheries, as effective policies hinge on transparency and understanding illicit practices.

The study – which includes data from 2021 and 2022 – combines fisheries expertise, data, maps and deep learning tools to analyse registry data, satellite data, and economic, employment and poverty indicators. The resulting report expresses in human terms the loss of opportunity these five countries face by allowing these companies to operate in their waters, and offers a powerful argument for transparency and grounds for reform.

Fishy Business was produced for the UN Development Programme's (UNDP) Ocean Innovation Challenge, as part of ODI's investigation into illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing by distant-water fishing fleets.

Authors: Miren Gutierrez, Alberto Lemma, Guillermo Gutierrez, César Montenegro