US officials working to address IUU fishing in Latin America

Published on
January 21, 2021

The U.S. announced late last week several moves officials hope will curb illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Caribbean and Latin America.

On Friday, 15 January, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a news release stating it plans to make available up to USD 8 million (EUR 6.6 million) in grant funding through its Bureau of International Labor Affairs. The bureau’s mission is to push for a fair playing field for workers in the U.S. and across the world by fighting child and illegal labor practices and bolstering labor standards worldwide.

The money will help raise awareness of IUU fishing practices and improve how violations can be addressed, according to the release.

Also on 15 January, the U.S. State Department announced it would support a U.S. Coast Guard operation to promote maritime security, including IUU fishing, in South Atlantic waters.

Operation Southern Cross is reported to be the Coast Guard’s first patrol in the South Atlantic in recent memory, the State Department said.

On 9 January, the USCG Cutter Stone worked with Guyanese counterparts in a series of exercises to combat illegal fishing practices. It was the first combined operations between the two countries since a new agreement was signed last year.

The State Department estimated fisheries production worldwide at USD 151 billion (EUR 124.6 billion) in 2018. Illegal and unreported fishing, officials estimate, takes away tens of billions of dollars from that total annually.

“IUU fishing jeopardizes global food security, destabilizes the economic security of coastal states, and violates state sovereignty by undermining international agreements and fisheries conservation measures,” the State Department statement read. “In the South Atlantic, we encourage our regional partners to be vigilant as we work together to protect the waters we share, and we urge our partners to both ratify and implement international measures such as the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures.”

Photo courtesy of T photography

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