A group of US lawmakers are calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to take immediate action against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) Chinese fishing fleets that operate globally.
China is the world’s largest processor and exporter of seafood products to the United States. Operating with an estimated 17,000-vessel fleet, Chinese ships accounted for more than a third of all global deepwater fishing.
In a letter to NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, the lawmakers point out that NOAA’s 2023 report on international fisheries revealed that Chinese IUU fishing imperiled the global ocean ecosystem and also identified widespread use of forced labor on deep water fishing fleets around the world.
In the letter, the lawmakers write:
“Urgent action is needed. Past approaches to combatting IUU fishing by the PRC and efforts to stop forced labor have been insufficient, putting our fisherman and seafood producers at a competitive disadvantage, damaging marine ecosystems, and implicating U.S. consumers in forced labor.”
After NOAA’s determination of the environmental degradation and the extensive use of forced labor on Chinese fishing fleets, the lawmakers request that NOAA enact trade restrictions that bar tainted Chinese seafood products from entering the United States.
The letter was signed by Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Rob Wittman, (R-VA), Jim Himes (D-CT), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL) and Scott Peters (D-CA).
Check out the full letter here.