Impact Story 21: MarViva – Addressing Illegal, Unreported and Undocumented Fishing in Panama’s UNESCO Heritage Site

Posted April 21, 2017

Coiba National Park protects Coiba’s Pacific tropical moist forest and rich marine habitat, home to an ongoing evolution of new species.

Coiba National Park protects Coiba’s Pacific tropical moist forest and rich marine habitat, home to an ongoing evolution of new species.

IUU FISHING refers to the following three activities: Illegal fishing, which takes place when fishers, in vessel or harvesting otherwise, operate in violation of the laws of a fishery; Unreported fishing, which is misrepresenting or not reporting fishing data to relevant national authorities; and Unregulated fishing, which refers to vessels fishing without nationality or who are harvesting in unregulated areas. Addressing IUU fishing is incredibly complex, and it is the hard work of choice of MarViva, a stellar organization devoted to the conservation and sustainable management of marine and coastal resources in Panama and Costa Rica. They are providing legal expertise to the government in order to monitor, create and protect new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Our Islas Secas Foundation, the Panamanian affiliate of Louis Bacon’s Moore Charitable Foundation is proud to provide support for fisheries surveillance activities specifically in Coiba National Park area – a UNESCO Heritage Site off the southwest coast of Panama, in the marine-habitat rich Gulf of Chiriqui.

MarViva is currently conduct a series of activities with the goal of improving detection, prosecution, and public awareness of illegal fishing in this area. MarViva is educating lawmakers in Panama on a series of regulatory issues, including ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement and initiatives that will improve controls on fishing gear and vessels. MarViva will monitor and report on judicial actions, develop recommendations for improvement and report findings to the media.

We expect real outcomes from MarViva’s work, including the adoption of new control regulations, electronic port inspection and reporting, with increased training of port officials; and increased enforcement activity and reduced of prosecution times of illegal acts. Stay tuned.

Read more about MarViva’s work here.