U.S. suppliers fight IUU fishing
Chicago-based The Plitt Co. and Santa Monica Seafood of Los Angeles this week announced a commitment to source only seafood from countries involved in legal fishing practices.
The announcement follows the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's January report to Congress identifying France, Italy, Libya, Panama, China and Tunisia as nations that need to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
In press releases posted on their Web site, Plitt and Santa Monica Seafood said they will not purchase seafood from these six countries.
As a result, Plitt said it will stop buying tuna from Panama.
"The majority of wild species we bring in from the countries identified by NOAA can be sourced elsewhere," said Scott Lichterman, a buyer for Plitt. "We'll go ahead and use other sources until these countries take real steps toward compliance."
While NOAA's IUU list is compiled only once every other year, a country can be immediately delisted if NOAA can confirm that it is adequately addressing the issue.
NOAA in January proposed a rule for developing identification and certification procedures to address IUU fishing and bycatch . Public hearings have been scheduled for 16 March in Boston; 6 April in Silver Spring, Md.; 13 April in La Jolla, Calif.; 14 April in Seattle; and 12 May in Miami.
IUU fishing "undermines all other management and conservation goals that responsible fleets and fishery managers are hoping to achieve," said Mark Powell, Ocean Conservancy's VP of sustainability partnerships and fisheries.
Annual global economic losses due to IUU fishing are estimated at USD 9 billion (EUR 6.95 billion), according to an international task force.
"Neither Ocean Conservancy nor the companies that have suspended their business ties with Panama are seeking to punish anyone,' he added. "On the contrary, our goal is to support and encourage legal and well-regulated fishing practices. That is exactly the type of business model these companies have embraced and their customers expect. It is our shared hope that all the illegal, unreported and unregulated countries will work in tandem with the United States to end these fishing practices so that prosperous business relationships can be restored."
IUU fishing is the subject of the International Boston Seafood Show conference "IUU & Red List Fisheries: How Industry and NGOs Can Work Together on Solutions." It takes place from 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, 15 March in Room 151B of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Powell is among the panelists.
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