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Are Criminal Sanctions an Appropriate Punishment for Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fishing in EU? - Sweden as a case study

Larsson, Jennie LU (2011) JURM01 20102
Department of Law
Abstract
Background:
A major challenge of today is to protect the marine ecosystem from a total collapse. Overfishing, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, climate change in the sea, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, marine pollution impacts of coastal development, exotic and invasive species and last but not least all the cumulative impacts, are just some of the factors degrading our marine environment. In the European Union (EU), many of the fishing fleets are currently losing money or only making minimal profits.

Illegal unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is according to the Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, one of the most serious threats to a sustainable fishery management. IUU fishing is currently having the status of... (More)
Background:
A major challenge of today is to protect the marine ecosystem from a total collapse. Overfishing, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, climate change in the sea, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, marine pollution impacts of coastal development, exotic and invasive species and last but not least all the cumulative impacts, are just some of the factors degrading our marine environment. In the European Union (EU), many of the fishing fleets are currently losing money or only making minimal profits.

Illegal unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is according to the Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, one of the most serious threats to a sustainable fishery management. IUU fishing is currently having the status of the second largest producer of fishery products in the world whereas it is estimated to account for nearby 20% of all marine catches in the world. EU is therefore struggling to take the appropriate measures and recently a new Common Fishery Policy (CFP) was adopted.

Control and Enforcement are one of the weakest elements in the current CFP. A new regulation (EC No 1005/2008) entered into force on 1 January 2010, with the purpose to achieve a more Sustainable Fishery Management. The regulation is focusing a lot on harmonizing administrative sanctions; leaving it up to the members states to choose their own criminal sanctions, if they would like to treat the infringements with that system instead. Since the criminal system falls outside EU’s harmonization policy, this may lead to a weakened use of sanctions in EU. It still remains open whether the development of a harmonized criminal law would be to prefer as a complement to the administrative sanctions, or if we should move towards an entire administrative system.

Research Focus:
This Research explores the effectiveness of Criminal Sanctions for combating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fisheries from a policy perspective. It focuses on the problem identification of whether or not we should keep criminal sanctions as a choice in the current harmonization of sanctions for combating IUU fishing. In order to answer the research problem previously outlined, two research questions and five objectives were formulated:

Question 1: Why are we heading towards an administrative system in IUU fishing rather than harmonizing criminal sanctions?
Question 2: What are the shortcomings in the criminal system and how could it become more effective?

Main Findings:
To the question whether or not we should keep criminal sanctions as alternative to administrative sanctions in the prevention of Illegal Unregulated and Unreported fishing, the answer is yes. The crucial thing is to keep the word “alternative” in the IUU Regulation. As proven in this study, both the administrative and criminal system has its’ strengths but also shortcomings. Moreover, some national systems comply better with one of the system than the other, hence the crucial need to keep both of them. The harmonization process in EU is an important work in order to ensure similar fishing practices, uphold the goals of the New Common Fishery Policy, as well as to protect the sensitive marine ecosystem from total degradation. This study shows that it is important to continue the harmonization but also go longer with the criminal sanctions. A good solution could be the creation of a comprehensive toolkit connected to specific offences, mixed of alternatives with both criminal and administrative sanctions as well as combinations of the two. (Less)
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author
Larsson, Jennie LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20102
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported Fishing, Criminal sanctions, Administrative sanctions, Harmonization
language
English
id
1973689
date added to LUP
2011-06-09 14:38:43
date last changed
2011-06-09 14:38:43
@misc{1973689,
  abstract     = {Background:
A major challenge of today is to protect the marine ecosystem from a total collapse. Overfishing, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, climate change in the sea, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, marine pollution impacts of coastal development, exotic and invasive species and last but not least all the cumulative impacts, are just some of the factors degrading our marine environment. In the European Union (EU), many of the fishing fleets are currently losing money or only making minimal profits.

Illegal unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is according to the Fisheries Commissioner, Joe Borg, one of the most serious threats to a sustainable fishery management. IUU fishing is currently having the status of the second largest producer of fishery products in the world whereas it is estimated to account for nearby 20% of all marine catches in the world. EU is therefore struggling to take the appropriate measures and recently a new Common Fishery Policy (CFP) was adopted.

Control and Enforcement are one of the weakest elements in the current CFP. A new regulation (EC No 1005/2008) entered into force on 1 January 2010, with the purpose to achieve a more Sustainable Fishery Management. The regulation is focusing a lot on harmonizing administrative sanctions; leaving it up to the members states to choose their own criminal sanctions, if they would like to treat the infringements with that system instead. Since the criminal system falls outside EU’s harmonization policy, this may lead to a weakened use of sanctions in EU. It still remains open whether the development of a harmonized criminal law would be to prefer as a complement to the administrative sanctions, or if we should move towards an entire administrative system.

Research Focus:
This Research explores the effectiveness of Criminal Sanctions for combating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fisheries from a policy perspective. It focuses on the problem identification of whether or not we should keep criminal sanctions as a choice in the current harmonization of sanctions for combating IUU fishing. In order to answer the research problem previously outlined, two research questions and five objectives were formulated:

Question 1: Why are we heading towards an administrative system in IUU fishing rather than harmonizing criminal sanctions?
Question 2: What are the shortcomings in the criminal system and how could it become more effective?

Main Findings:
To the question whether or not we should keep criminal sanctions as alternative to administrative sanctions in the prevention of Illegal Unregulated and Unreported fishing, the answer is yes. The crucial thing is to keep the word “alternative” in the IUU Regulation. As proven in this study, both the administrative and criminal system has its’ strengths but also shortcomings. Moreover, some national systems comply better with one of the system than the other, hence the crucial need to keep both of them. The harmonization process in EU is an important work in order to ensure similar fishing practices, uphold the goals of the New Common Fishery Policy, as well as to protect the sensitive marine ecosystem from total degradation. This study shows that it is important to continue the harmonization but also go longer with the criminal sanctions. A good solution could be the creation of a comprehensive toolkit connected to specific offences, mixed of alternatives with both criminal and administrative sanctions as well as combinations of the two.},
  author       = {Larsson, Jennie},
  keyword      = {Illegal,Unregulated,Unreported Fishing,Criminal sanctions,Administrative sanctions,Harmonization},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Are Criminal Sanctions an Appropriate Punishment for Illegal Unregulated and Unreported Fishing in EU? - Sweden as a case study},
  year         = {2011},
}