Flag of convenience (FOC) is a business practice whereby a ship’s owners register a merchant ship in a ship register of a country other than that of the ship’s owners, and the ship flies the civil ensign of that country, called the flag state.
The term is often used pejoratively, and the practice is regarded as contentious. Each merchant ship is required by international law to be registered in a registry created by a country, and a ship is subject to the laws of that country, which are used also if the ship is involved in a case under admiralty law.
Furthermore, some states do not provide proper authorizations for their vessels to fish once they assume the state’s flag.
This lack of supervision and authorization to fish enables such vessels to engage in IUU fishing with impunity.
IUU fishing undermines national and regional efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks. and as a consequence, inhibits progress towards achieving the goals of long-term sustainability and responsibility as set forth in, Inter alia, Chapter 17 of Agenda 21 and 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
Social aspects of the use of FOC merchant vessels are also essential. All would benefit from an establishment of a regulatory framework for the shipping industry To eliminate sub-standard shipping and seek acceptable standards on all ships irrespective of a flag, using political, industrial and legal means.
To protect and enhance the conditions of employment of maritime workers and to ensure that all maritime workers, regardless of color, nationality, sex, race or creed, are protected from exploitation by their employers and those acting on their behalf; To individually strengthen affiliated unions, in all aspects, so as to ensure the provision and delivery of a greater degree of solidarity for working conditions and continuous work for preservation of sustainable fishing methods.
From 2000 to 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Service reported an average of 11 large whales entangled in ghost nets every year along the US west coast. From 2002 to
According to the SeaDoc Society, each ghost net kills $20,000 worth of Dungeness crab over 10 years. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science calculated that ghost crab pots capture 1.25 million blue crabs each year in the Chesapeake Bay alone.
In May 2016, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) recovered 10 tonnes of abandoned nets within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone and Torres Strait protected zone perimeters. One protected turtle was rescued.