The human dimension of fishing activities : towards a broader meaning of illegal fishing?

Longo, Andrea; Leucci, Pierandrea and Vianello, Ilaria, eds. (2023) The human dimension of fishing activities : towards a broader meaning of illegal fishing? In: ASCOMARE Yearbook On The Law Of The Sea 2022. Luglio Editore, Trieste, pp. 125-158. ISBN 9788868033330 (

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Fishing has a tremendous impact on the environment. Poor governance, weak or inexistent enforcement mechanisms, and excessive and unregulated subsidies have resulted in the overexploitation of fish stocks around the world. Consequently, Target 14.4 under Agenda 2030 – i.e. ending overfishing of marine fisheries by 2020 – has clearly not been met. Yet, while scholars have focused mainly on the environmental dimension of fishing, concerns for the protection of the individual in the fisheries sector are progressively coming to the foreground. As a matter of fact, fishing activities may heavily impair the enjoyment of fundamental rights of numerous groups of people, ranging from coastal communities to end-consumers, from economic operators within the fishery sector to people on board fishing vessels, including fishers and fishery observers. Against this background, this paper calls for the integration of human security concerns into the existing instruments making up the regime for the sustainable conservation and management of marine living resources, specifically addressing the pressing living and working conditions on board fishing vessels. In this regard, it first provides an overview of States’ obligations on the protection of the individual on board fishing vessels under both international human rights law and the law of the sea; then, it investigates the paradigm of IUU fishing and discusses possible ways to rethink such a paradigm with a view to addressing the growing concerns for human rights and the human security dimension, thereby contributing to shape a new global strategy to enhance the protection of the individual on board fishing vessels.