Maritime Security

  • IASbaba
  • November 16, 2022
  • 0
International Relations
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In News: More than 200 Chinese fishing vessels have been monitored in the Indian Ocean, according to the Indian Navy, even as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to rise beyond India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZs).


  • With a coastline of over 7000 KM, Maritime security is an important aspect of national security for India.
  • There is a presence of extra-regional distant water fishing fleets from China, European Union and other counties, especially in the Northern Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • Moreover, there have been growing incidence of Chinese deep sea fishing trawlers in the Indian Ocea, an overall rise of China’s maritime presence in the region and there are two Chinese research vessels which can track missile tests currently deployed in the Indian Ocean region.

What is IUU fishing:

  • IUU fishing is a broad term that captures illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities, both on the high seas and in areas within national jurisdiction.
  • It concerns all aspects and stages of the capture and utilisation of fish, and it may sometimes be associated with organized crime.
  • IUU fishing takes advantage of corruption and exploits weak management regimes in countries lacking effective monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS) mechanisms.
  • It threatens marine biodiversity, livelihoods, exacerbates poverty, and augments food insecurity.

Concerns about India’s maritime security:

  • IUU fishing depletes fish stocks, destroys marine habitats, puts fishermen at disadvantage and impacts coastal communities, especially in developing countries.
  • Chinese deep-sea trawlers operate far from the Chinese coast and impact local marine ecology. For instance, between 2015 and 2019, on an average at least 500 Chinese deep-sea trawlers were present in the IOR.
  • There is a huge surge in unregistered Chinese fishing vessels such that close to 140 Chinese fishing vessels have been monitored carrying out fishing beyond India’s EEZ, in the North Western IOR.
  • India is not a signatory to the two main regulations globally on IUU fishing: the Cape Town Agreement and the Agreement on Ports State Measures; which undermines its global position.

Suggestions and current Mechanisms:

  • As per United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), coastal nations are responsible for addressing IUU fishing issues within their respective EEZ.
  • Regulatory bodies to monitor IUU fishing on the high seas: The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement operating under the mandate of UNCLOS.
  • Joint Quad monitoring: the Quad, comprising India, Australia, Japan and U.S., in 2022 announced a major regional effort under the ambit of Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA).
  • It aims to provide an accurate maritime picture of “near-real-time” activities in the region.
  • IPMDA is expected to catalyse joint efforts of India and other Quad partners towards addressing IUU in Indo-Pacific region.
  • Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram monitors all vessel movements on the high seas under the ambit of the Indian Navy.
  • The Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR), co-located with IMAC, has been collaborating with other regional monitoring centres across the globe to enhance maritime safety and security, including efforts to monitor IUU.
  • IFC-IOR undertakes satellite monitoring of vessels operating in the IOR to track such vessels.
  • Fishing Vehicle management systems identifies their position, and also requires them to record the volume and location of their catch, helping to tackle the issue of IUU fishing.
  • Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels is an international tool, developed by FAO, to fight IUU fishing.

Way forward:

  • SDG target 14.4 aims to end overfishing, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and destructive fishing practices.
  • Further, the ‘IUU Fishing Index,’ which uses a suite of 40 indicators to benchmark vulnerability, prevalence and response to IUU fishing among all of the world’s 152 coastal countries, is aimed to help policymakers identify where interventions to stop IUU are most needed.
  • Sustainable fisheries accounted for approximately 0.1 per cent of global GDP in 2017. An effort can be made to enhance this figure through a multi-stakeholder and participative approach.

Source The Hindu


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