The pressure is on for countries seeking to compete in the global seafood market to follow regulations and drive out IUU fishing. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the state of the oceans and concerned about the source of their food. To ensure transparency continues from port to plate, new traceability tools are being introduced, and big retailers such as Costco and Walmart can move the needle by refusing to source seafood from suppliers without a sustainable certification.
Although governance on the high seas is likely to remain an exercise in cooperation and self-policing, the conditions high seas fishers face back on shore are changing. Tolerance for the old ways has diminished along with the fish, and the free-for-all may soon be coming to an end.