The UK’s Marine and Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw has urged the international community to make action on illegal fishing a priority.

Bradshaw told the Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands in Paris that practical solutions to fisheries and conservation issues could be found if the international community took a lead and worked together.

Bradshaw emphasised the role of the High Seas Task Force, a committee of fisheries ministers and non-government organisations which he chairs, as a means of tackling illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.

“We need to find ways of bringing fisheries and conservation interests together around a shared interest in good governance and sustainability,” Bradshaw said. “IUU fishing is a serious global problem putting unsustainable pressure on fish stocks and the marine environment, and severe economic pressure on some of the poorest countries. We must address these problems as a matter of urgency –  to do nothing will threaten precious sea life.”

The High Seas Task Force is due to publish a report on IUU fishing at the beginning of March.