27 Feb 2020 - One in five fish caught in the central western Pacific, which includes the exclusive economic zones of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Cambodia, is illegally traded. Annual losses are estimated at US$6 to 10 billion.
The Pacific Ocean’s marine resources are a source of income, foreign exchange, employment and nutrition to many countries. However, illicit trade of these valuable resources is robbing Pacific Ocean economies of these benefits.
A new paper, The Scale of Illicit Trade in Pacific Ocean Marine Resources, estimates 24 per cent of Pacific Ocean’s marine catch is unreported every year. That’s 15 million tonnes of fish. Up to 50 per cent (or 3.7 million to 7.2 million tonnes) of this unreported catch is illegally traded in international markets every year, directly leading to US$4.3 to 8.3 billion of loss in gross revenues every year to the formal economy.
However, these financial losses increase in magnitude if you count the economic activity that would have followed from fish entering the formal economy in that country—with the upshot that the economic impacts of illegal trade in unreported catch could be much bigger than previously thought.