Yu Feng, a Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessel suspected of illegal fishing activity, moves through the water off the coast of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Aug. 17, 2009, before being boarded by U.S. Coast Guardsmen from USCGC Legare (WMEC 912) and representatives of the Sierra Leone armed forces maritime wing, Fisheries Ministry and Office of National Security. Legare is on a three-month deployment as part of Africa Partnership Station, an international initiative developed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa to work with U.S. and international partners to improve maritime safety and security in Africa.

Per the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:

Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing remains one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems due to its potent ability to undermine national and regional efforts to manage fisheries sustainably as well as endeavours to conserve marine biodiversity. IUU fishing takes advantage of corrupt administrations and exploits weak management regimes, in particular those of developing countries lacking the capacity and resources for effective monitoring, control, and surveillance (MCS). IUU fishing is found in all types and dimensions of fisheries; it occurs both on the high seas and in areas within national jurisdiction, it concerns all aspects and stages of the capture and utilisation of fish, and it may sometimes be associated with organized crime.

Fisheries resources available to bona fide fishers are removed by IUU fishing, which can lead to the collapse of local fisheries, with small-scale fisheries in developing countries proving particularly vulnerable. Products derived from IUU fishing can find their way into overseas trade markets thus throttling local food supply. IUU fishing therefore threatens livelihoods, exacerbates poverty, and augments food insecurity.

Watch Argentina sink a Chinese boat illegally fishing in their waters in the video below: