More than 100 scientists and researchers have sent a letter to the U.S. Congress calling for immediate action to address illegal fishing, seafood fraud and human rights abuses in the seafood supply chain.
Specifically, the scientists want increased traceability of seafood imports and transparency at sea to ensure that all seafood served in the USA is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced and honestly labeled.
The letter outlines the need for Congress to require traceability for all seafood sold in the United States.
The scientists say illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing “threatens the sustainability of fisheries, the livelihoods of fishers internationally, and the well-being of workers in the industry.”
The letter adds:
“As concerned scientists, we are insisting that measures be undertaken to address these issues across the seafood supply chain. . . . We ask that the federal agencies support regulatory and congressional action that combats IUU fishing, seafood fraud, and human rights abuses in seafood by taking strong and immediate action on extended regulation, monitoring, and enforcement in the United States. Only by thoroughly addressing these interrelated issues can we protect our oceans and the people dependent on them.”
Beth Lowell, deputy vice president for Oceana’s U.S. campaigns, applauded the letter:
“Scientists are rightfully concerned that illegal fishing and human rights abuses continue to run rampant in the seafood supply chain. The U.S. must take action to ensure all seafood sold in the United States is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced, and honestly labeled by expanding traceability of seafood and transparency at sea. By collecting the right information about seafood, the government can more effectively screen imports and keep illicit products out of the U.S. market. President Biden has the opportunity to lead in the global fight against IUU fishing, seafood fraud, and forced labor — an effort that has widespread bipartisan public support. As world leaders prepare for the 2022 Our Ocean conference in February, Oceana urges President Biden to commit to stronger actions to fight IUU fishing, including expanding catch documentation and traceability requirements to all seafood, increasing the transparency of commercial fishing vessels, and taking stronger actions against countries who fail to address IUU fishing in their fleets.”