By SeafoodSource staff
Published on 10 January, 2013
NOAA has submitted a Congressionally mandated report identifying 10 nations whose fishing vessels are involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in 2011 or 2012. The report also highlights nations that had ineffective measures to prevent the unintended catch of protected species in 2012.
The U.S. will soon start consultations with each of the 10 nations — Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Mexico, Panama, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Tanzania, and Venezuela — to encourage them to take action to address IUU fishing and bycatch by their fishermen.
All 10 nations identified in this year’s report had vessels that did not comply in 2011 and/or 2012 with conservation and management measures required under a regional fishery management organization to which the United States is a party. Mexico was also identified for ineffective management of the bycatch of North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles, which travel between Japan and Mexico through Hawaiian waters, and are endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
If a nation fails to take appropriate action to address the instances of illegal fishing or bycatch activities described in the report, that nation’s fishing vessels may be denied entry into U.S. ports, and imports of certain fish or fish products from that nation into the United States may be prohibited. NOAA’s latest figures showed that 91 percent of the 4.7 billion pounds of seafood consumed in the United States in 2011 was imported.
“NOAA’s international fisheries work is critical to the economic viability of U.S. fishing communities and the protection of U.S. jobs,” said Russel Smith, NOAA deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries. “This is about leveling the playing field for fishermen around the world, and IUU fishing represents one of the biggest threats to the U.S. fishing industry. Seafood is a global business, and U.S. fishermen following the rules should not have to compete with those using illegal or unsustainable fishing practices.”