Trade Measures and the Combat of IUU Fishing: Institutional Interplay and Effective Governance in the Northeast Atlantic

Marine Policy, Vol 33, 2009, pp. 339-349

The use of trade measures to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Northeast Atlantic has evolved from unilateral denial of the landing of fish taken outside international quota arrangements to a multilateral Scheme of Control and Enforcement under the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC). International trade rules have not constrained this development, mostly due to successful management of the interplay between international resource management and trade regimes. States protect resource management objectives from such constraint by inserting clauses that establish a normative hierarchy, or they employ various means for adapting IUU measures to the ‘environmental window’ of the global trade regime. The fact that regional states have introduced trade restrictions only when non-restrictive or less restrictive measures have failed enhances such compatibility, as do the gradual shift from unilateral to multilateral measures and the rise in transparency, openness and target-state involvement. None of those features reduces the effectiveness of regional trade measures; they minimize tension with trade commitments and largely strengthen their clout in the struggle to combat IUU fishing in the Northeast Atlantic.