Illegal Fishing and Australian Security

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The security impact of illegal fishing is not well understood. Where illegal fishing is recognised as a security problem, the focus has been on fish as a natural resource, the depletion of which can have impacts on food security, individual livelihoods, and the economic survival of states relying on illegal fishing. We argue that a focus on fish as a natural resource obscures the other security challenges the crime of illegal fishing poses to Australia. As this paper explains, illegal fishing overlaps with drug, human, weapon and other contraband trafficking and smuggling; irregular maritime arrivals; and maritime piracy. In addition, like other easily transported, high value resources, illegal fish can fund insurgencies and other types of political violence. Understanding illegal fishing as a security challenge will improve Australia’s national security policy. First, it acknowledges fish as a vital natural resource, implicated in economic, ecological, and human
security; second, it analyses how illegal fishing interlinks with other maritime crimes; third, it challenges the effectiveness of monitoring and enforcement of illegal fishing; fourth, it presents an opportunity for effective regional cooperation; and finally it highlights the benefits of regional cooperation in responding to illegal fishing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 82-99
Number of pages18
JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
Issue number1
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


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