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February 1, 2019

[Training Course Report] FY 2018 Knowledge Co-Creation Program (Country Focus): "Policies and Countermeasures against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing"

As part of its maritime-related support initiatives announced at the Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) held in May 2018, JICA Yokohama implemented the Knowledge Co-Creation Program (Country Focus) titled "Policies and Countermeasures against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing," focusing on 12 Oceanian countries (Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru).

"IUU fishing" refers to fishing that does not adhere to national or international fishing rules. Preliminary calculations suggest that in the Oceania region, IUU fishing produces around 70 billion yen worth of tuna catches per year, or a total of 3.0 million tons. Moreover, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 set by the United Nations aims for the eradication of IUU fishing, and a worldwide effort can be expected on this issue that includes the participation of Oceanian countries.

Representatives responsible for IUU fishing countermeasures in each country participated in this training course to learn about Japan's policies to fight IUU fishing and discuss appropriate future IUU fishing countermeasures, both in the country itself and cooperative regional measures.

This training course consisted of lectures by the Fisheries Agency on Japan's anti-IUU fishing policies, as well as the introduction of new technologies to counter IUU fishing by the Japan Marine United Corporation; Cubic-i Ltd.; International Maritime Onboard Safety & Security Co., Ltd. (IMOS); and the Fisheries Engineering Co., Ltd.

The course also included a study tour that consisted of visits to Sakai Port, Kyusyu Fisheries Coordination Office, and Moji Coast Guard Office to speak with people actively involved in work on IUU fishing countermeasures, collaboration with affiliated organizations, and other topics.

Inspection tours of the Sakai Port Fisheries Coordination Office (Fisheries Agency) and Kyusyu Fisheries Coordination Office

In the winter season, when snow crab and squid fishing is at its best, the section of the Sea of Japan under the jurisdiction of the Sakai Port Fisheries Coordination Office sees heavy activity by fishing vessels from both Japan and neighboring countries. At the Sakai Port Fisheries Coordination Office, our tour group examined the office's warehouse of illegal fishing equipment collected by patrol boats. "I gained a good understanding of the reality of illegal fishing," commented a participant from the Marshall Islands. "Fish continue to get caught in abandoned fishing equipment, so it is very important to go and collect it."

At the Kyusyu Fisheries Coordination Office, our tour group first received a lecture on the flow of how illegall fishing is dealt with, from fishing is dealt with, from witnessing the crime to referral to the authorities. The participants compared this process to that in their own countries and asked about the specific systems in place, such as collateral and fines. Afterwards, we took a tour of the Hakuo Maru, a Fisheries Agency patrol boat. In a test run of the high-performance cameras used to capture illegal fishing in the act, the participants were impressed by the cameras' telephoto capabilities that are sufficient to clearly display a sign on a building hundreds of meters away. "The interior of the ship is kept very clean, tidy, and well-organized," remarked a participant from Palau's maritime police. "It was obviously taken good care of. Once I get back home, I want to clean the patrol boat that I use until it's spick and span," he said to the laughter of the other participants.

PhotoInspection tour of Sakai Port

PhotoInspection tour of illegal fishing equipment in storage at the Sakai Port Fisheries Coordination Office

Inspection tour of Moji Coast Guard Office (Japan Coast Guard)

In addition to cracking down on illegal fishing, the Japan Coast Guard's duties also include protecting maritime safety and security by conducting sea rescues, disaster preparedness, and maintaining public order at sea. At the Moji Coast Guard Office, our tour group received an overview of the office's work, and toured the patrol vessels Kikuchi, Hayanami, and Kiyokaze. When asked by a participant about the most important aspects of regulating illegal fishing boats, the Japan Coast Guard personnel stated that it was most important to obtain clear proof of illegal fishing activity in video or photographic form. The Japan Coast Guard personnel also stated that fishing regulations in Japan differ by sea region, season, and fish species, and it is necessary to keep all of those things in mind at all times. Furthermore, the Japan Coast Guard and the Fisheries Agency work together by setting regular meetings to share information on minor changes to fishing regulations and other topics.

PhotoInspection tour of Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel Kikuchi

PhotoInspection tour of Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel Hayanami

Lecture by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

PhotoLecture by a NOAA expert

Japan and the United States are working together toward their shared vision of maintaining and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region. As part of that collaboration, we participated in a lecture by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is the organization responsible for fighting IUU fishing in the United States. The lecture covered the United States government's IUU regulation framework and specific case studies of IUU fishing regulation, and the participants asked questions with enthusiasm.

The Oceanian countries that participated in this training course are small in area and have limited human resources at their disposal, but they must nonetheless protect their waters from IUU fishing. Japan, the United States, and the Oceanian countries all make use of the marine resources of the Pacific Ocean and they are partners in protecting those resources. We hope that this training course will be put to good use in future IUU fishing countermeasures in the Oceania region and contribute to lessening the damage caused by IUU as well.

(Cooperation in article creation from) Marino-Forum 21
Photos of training are posted to Marino-Forum 21 Facebook page at

PhotoClosing ceremony

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


The Sustainable Development Goals are a set of detailed action guidelines that were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. The SDGs are outlined in an outcome document titled "Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development". The agenda includes 169 specific targets grouped in 17 separate goals to be accomplished.

Of the 17 global goals set by the UN as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, this training course is expected to contribute to Goal 14 "Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources."


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