US House Ways and Means leaders request study of China's IUU imports

Two members of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee are seeking the U.S. International Trade Commission to review the economic impact illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing has on American fishermen.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts), the committee’s chairman, and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), who chairs the Ways and Means trade subcommittee, wrote to USITC Chairman David Johanson on Thursday, 19 December, to request the study. The lawmakers are seeking to understand the true impact of IUU fishing, including its impact on production and pricing.

In particular, the congressmen want the commission to investigate China’s role in the illegal seafood trade. In their letter, they note that China is America’s largest seafood trading partner. However, they also note that the world’s most-populous country is considered the worst among coastal nations in dealing with illegal fishing.

Nearly one-third of all seafood caught comes from IUU operations, the letter to the USITC states, with an impact of USD 23 billion (EUR 20.8 billion) annually.

IUU fishing takes a variety of forms, including fishing crews harvesting stocks in foreign waters without permission, falsifying landings reports, and the fishing of stocks under moratoriums or catch limits.

“IUU fishing also creates unfair competition for U.S. fishermen, as imports account for 90 percent of U.S. seafood consumption,” they wrote.

Within the report, Neal and Blumenauer want the USITC to provide an overview of how IUU fishing can be monitored, a summary of the major IUU violators, an analysis of what IUU products are shipped into the United States, and a snapshot of the U.S. commercial fishing industry.

Neal and Blumenauer requested the report be completed within a year, and they plan on making it public.

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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