Sustainable Development Goals

Indicator 14.6.1 - Progress by countries in the degree of implementation of international instruments aiming to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing

The indicator focuses on the effort to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) through the effective implementation of key international instruments. This indicator will measure progress towards SDG Target 14.6.

By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.

Progress in the degree of implementation of instruments to combat IUU fishing, 2018 - 2020


Together with the other indicators under SDG 14, it will form a picture of marine activity giving countries intelligence on optimum levels of fishing, aquaculture expansion and fair and secure access to living aquatic resources.

Key results

The percentage of Members identifying IUU fishing as a problem has dropped to 79 percent (it was 90 percent in 2013). Sixty-nine percent of these countries have drafted a National Plan of Action on IUU fishing (NPOA-IUU), of which 84 percent have started implementing it. Eighty-two percent of the countries which had not yet drafted an NPOA-IUU declared their intention to draft one. However, almost all Members reported having taken measures to combat IUU fishing, most importantly through the improvement of coastal State controls and MCS (75 percent) and legal frameworks (70 percent).

Responses to several sections within the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) questionnaire regarding the implementation of different international instruments used to combat IUU fishing will be used within an algorithm to obtain a score for this indicator. 

The final methodological proposal for this indicator was approved by the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) Bureau in July 2017.

The Agreement on Port State Measures (PSMA) is the first binding international Agreement that specifically targets IUU fishing, with 66 Parties to it, including the European Union as one Party representing its Member States. In June 2016, the Agreement came into force and as of 03 July 2020 it lays down a minimum set of standard measures for Parties to apply when foreign vessels seek entry into their ports or while they are in their ports.

Between 2018 and 2020, the average degree of implementation of international instruments to combat IUU fishing has improved across the world. A composite measure of the degree of implementation of the five principal instruments, the world score for SDG indicator 14.6.1, rose from 3/5 to 4/5 over this period.

On the basis of their reporting, States have made good progress overall in carrying out the recommended measures to combat IUU fishing, with close to 75 percent of them scoring highly in their degree of implementation of relevant international instruments in 2020, compared to 70 percent in 2018. Most regions have either remained at the same level of implementation or improved, the exception being Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand) and Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, Australia and New Zealand, Europe and North America, as well as Eastern and South-Eastern Asia all receive a maximum score for the level of implementation of instruments to combat IUU fishing.

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