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Are RFMO IUU lists useful? A User Evaluation of the Combined IUU Vessel List

What is the Combined IUU List?

The Combined IUU List is a website maintained by TMT as a public service. It contains all fishing vessels currently or historically IUU listed by a Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (RFMO). It enables users to access IUU listing information from all RFMOs on a single, easily searchable website.

It can be accessed at

Using a combination of web analytics, a review of user requests and IUU list downloads, and a stakeholder survey, TMT conducted an analysis of the Combined IUU List website for the 3-year period April 2018 to April 2021.

The objective was to better understand how often the site is being accessed, who is using the information, where are they from, what sector do they represent, and why they are using the information.

Why does the Combined IUU List exist?

The Combined IUU List was initially launched by TMT in 2012, and then relaunched with new features and format in 2018, to address a particular information gap that was identified by the international community. RFMOs were IUU listing vessels, but these vessels were then ‘disappearing’ because of name and flag changes, changes in location and fishing grounds, and even through structural modifications altering their appearance.

The original aim of the RFMO IUU listings - to prevent these vessels from continuing their illegal activities - was being undermined by the lack of a focussed effort to keep track of their changing identities and operations, and a platform to make this information publicly available.

Consolidating all the RFMO lists into one location also aimed to simplify the job of any end user who needed to consult these lists as part of their day to day work – rather than having to go one by one to each of the RFMO IUU lists and manually search them, the Combined IUU List allows any user to search by any common vessel identifier (past or present) and filter information for example by RFMO or if the vessel is currently or was historically listed.

Combined IUU List user analysis

Here is a summary of the findings - please download the report for the full analysis

  • The Combined IUU list was accessed by 30,044 individual users who viewed over 290,000 pages.

  • Regular users include: Government Agencies including from Fisheries, Port Authorities, Navy, Coast Guard, Customs, Maritime Authorities / Inter-governmental organisations including UNODC, Interpol and FAO / Service providers including from insurance, bunkering, transport, and cold store companies / Seafood import and sale, processing, and food manufacturing companies / Universities and Research Institutes / Non-governmental organisations / Media / Legal representatives / Fish catching companies.

  • Combined IUU List users come from just about every country in the world with the top 20 user countries represent a cross section of many of the major distant water fishing, port, market and processing States.

  • The most commonly searched vessels VLADIVOSTOK 2000 / COBIJA / STS-50 identified with a short case study for each

Further analysis included in the report includes

  • How is the information in the Combined IUU List populated?

  • Case study: Keeping track of an IUU listed fishing vessel

  • Who is accessing and using the Combined IUU List and what are they accessing it for?

  • Where are they accessing it from?

  • How are they accessing it?

  • Is the combined IUU list a list of all fishing vessels involved in IUU Fishing?

  • What next for the Combined IUU List?


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