A new report issued this month by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) identifies seven countries for having vessels engaged in illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fishing activities.
Those countries include China, Costa Rica, Guyana, Mexico, Russia, Senegal and Taiwan, according to NOAA’s report, which is issued once every two years.
The report also identifies countries and entities that lack a “regulatory program comparable in effectiveness to the United States to reduce the bycatch of protected marine life in their fishing operations.”
Those countries and entities are: Algeria, Barbados, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, European Union, France, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Portugal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and Turkey.
According to NOAA:
“IUU fishing undermines international efforts to sustainably manage and rebuild fisheries. It creates unfair market competition for fishermen who adhere to strict conservation measures like those in the United States. IUU fishing can also devastate fish populations and their productive marine habitats, threatening food security and economic stability worldwide. Bycatch, or the catch of non-target fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds that become hooked or entangled in fishing gear, can negatively affect the conservation of ocean ecosystems, including protected marine life.
“Some nations do not have regulatory programs to reduce or mitigate bycatch of protected species in their fisheries comparable in effectiveness to the United States. This threatens the sustainability of those fisheries or other transboundary resources shared with the United States.”
According to Beth Lowell, deputy vice president for U.S. campaigns at Oceana:
“NOAA’s report shows the unsettling reality that IUU fishing is alive and well beyond our waters. IUU fishing might be out of sight, but it cannot be out of mind — the Biden-Harris administration must take decisive action to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and close the U.S. market to all illegally sourced products, including seafood caught using forced labor or other human rights abuses. Seafood should not come at the cost of human rights or healthy oceans — period. All seafood should be safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced, and honestly labeled. We also commend NOAA for identifying nations that failed to address the bycatch of protected living marine resources.”
Check out the full report here.