During the past decade the incidence of IUU fishing has grown at an alarming rate within the Convention Area and adjacent areas.

Substantial catches of toothfish (Dissostichus spp.) have been taken by longline fishing and, in more recent years, by gillnet fishing. CCAMLR estimates of IUU fishing are well in excess of allowable catches agreed by CCAMLR.

Such catches have been taken in national waters within the Convention Area (‘illegal’ fishing) or in a manner apart from or contrary to management measures aimed at controlling and monitoring such catches (‘unregulated’ and ‘unreported’ fishing).

The high incidence of IUU fishing has not only had a detrimental effect on toothfish stocks, particularly in the Indian Ocean, it has impacted heavily on seabird populations to the extent that the future sustainability of both groups has been called into question.

 The continued lack of information from IUU fisheries undermines CCAMLR's conservation measures and severely complicates efforts to determine future toothfish stock trends in certain areas with any level of certainty.

Precautionary approach
Regulatory framework

The introduction of the CDS by CCAMLR in 2000 to monitor landings of, as well as global trade in, toothfish constituted an unprecedented initiative aimed at combating and assessing IUU fishing for those species.

The CDS is one of a suite of CCAMLR measures aimed at eliminating IUU fishing in the Convention Area. Such measures include as strict vessel licensing requirements, at-sea and port vessel inspections and the requirement for the continuous monitoring of vessels position in the Convention Area using automated satellite-linked monitoring systems (VMS).

For a number of fisheries in the Convention Area, Flag States are required to transmit real-time vessel position information to the centralised VMS database located at the CCAMLR Headquarters.

CCAMLR annually reviews information on IUU fishing activities in the Convention Area and, in accordance with Conservation Measures 10-06 and 10-07, has established a List of IUU Vessels of Contracting and non-Contracting Parties. Vessels included on the list are presumed to have engaged in IUU activities in the Convention Area thus undermining the effectiveness of CCAMLR Conservation measures in force.

Together, these initiatives have contributed to a significant overall decline in IUU fishing since 2003. However, some areas remain vulnerable.