Stocktaking IUU in Asia

The CSIRO Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) Analytics Team is estimating the incidence of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) in the Asia Pacific region.

The team is also reviewing the capacity and efforts to combat IUU fishing being undertaken across the region. The project aims to understand IUU fishing, including frequency, institutional structure, key drivers, and context, to inform the Asia Pacific Fisheries Commission (APFIC).

The project includes all countries in the southeast Asian region.


The Project has three components:


1. Online Survey

Fisheries officers across the region are participating in an anonymous online survey. The survey takes around 30 minutes to answer. The questionnaire is anonymous, and respondents are  asked about drivers and enablers of illegal fishing practices in a sub-region of their choice. The survey asks for detailed information on specific target species to determine important risk factors and threats on the nature of illegal activities for key species. The survey is assisting our understanding of the organisational structure of the operators involved in IUU-related activities. Statistical models are used to standardise the responses to allow us to estimate levels of IUU across species and regions, and to understand important organisational and infrastructure patterns in IUU fishing.

2. Media Analysis

We have assessed and analysed five years’ worth of media reports of illegal fishing practices since 2015. This process enables estimation of current levels and drivers of IUU activity, and shifts over time, across the region. The media content analysis uses statistical models to control for bias in reporting rates,  including differential editorial policies among outlets and temporal shifts in coverage. Whilst the analysis focuses on IUU fishing related stories, it may uncover other key issues such as relationships with labour abuses and trafficking of controlled substances.

3. Structured Interviews

Expert elicitation, using structured one-to-one interviews provides further estimates and understanding of IUU activities in the region. Interviews conducted with both regional and international experts  including port officials, inspectors, MCS officers, and consultants, have tapped into extensive knowledge of IUU related issues. Results are aggregated to ensure all participants remain anonymous.



We will use the three sources above to characterise IUU fishing across the APFIC region. We are creating dissemination materials to increase awareness of IUU fishing and the efforts to combat IUU fishing in the region. This includes peer reviewed journal publications, as well as project fact sheets for public  distribution.


Project ouptuts include estimates of IUU frequency by species and region based on the survey, similar to this example.

Download the project fact sheet here