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Our focus is particularly on initiatives by states, multilateral organizations, and civil society to address this threat by improving state capacity in the Global South to govern the economic activity of their vessels and on their seas and ports. 

Sustainable fisheries are at the core of the global quest for sustainable ocean governance, and IUU fishing presents a key challenge for attaining it. These practices are strongly associated with overfishing and the depletion of fish stocks. The Sustainable Development Goal 14.4 recognizes the necessity of ending IUU as early as 2020. Still, it has been estimated that IUU fishing harvests represent one-fifth of wild catches globally and even more in some regions. 

Several instruments have been established to coordinate efforts to stem the tides of IUU fishing. However, being effective at producing sustainable maritime governance requires a parallel effort to improve the fisheries management system, especially in places where such capacity is limited. Robust fisheries regulation at national and regional levels is necessary to set clear boundaries between legal and IUU fishing.

Equally relevant, monitoring fish stocks, fishing efforts, and catches is also a condition for putting regulations into practice, and effectively distinguishing legal and illegal fishing activities. Furthermore, a strong fishery management system is crucial for ensuring that legal fishing activities are sustainable. The capacity for fisheries management is widely uneven across the globe. In this sense, the ability to effectively overcome IUU fishing in pursuing sustainable ocean governance requires global cooperation for constructing such a capacity where it is lacking.