Illegal Fishing – a Wet Wild West

Whether it’s stealing fish from coastal communities, misreporting catch, or operating in waters where they’re not supposed to be, many big tuna companies are violating laws and breaching international agreements.

Some are engaged in illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fisheries, or “pirate fishing”. Their operations are part of a multi-billion dollar global fisheries rip-off that’s leaving coastal communities and legitimate fishing businesses out of pocket, and our oceans out of fish. 

Often, their ships re-fuel, re-supply and transfer fish to other boats at sea, thus avoiding port inspectors. 

Mostly they target places that have little political or financial power to fight back. From the Pacific to West Africa, the companies sail in, fish the tuna out, and sell it on for millions of dollars. This is income and resources local coastal communities deserve a share in. 

Instead they’re cut out of the process and sometimes can’t even fish their own waters because local ecosystems have been destroyed.

Bycatch is another huge problem with pirate fishing. Because these companies operate (quite literally, in some cases) off the radar, they can get away with using fishing techniques that destroy ocean life. You couldn’t meet a group of people who care less about the long-term fate of tuna.

Find out how you can avoid illegally caught tuna using our handy tuna-buying guides.