STATEMENT: White House Moves to Combat Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud, Curbing Associated Public Health and Economic Risks
Washington, D.C. — Today, the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated, or IUU, Fishing and Seafood Fraud issued final recommendations that will strengthen the safety and integrity of America’s seafood supply.
Center for American Progress Director of Ocean Policy Michael Conathan issued the following statement in response to the recommendations:
Today’s announcement is a victory for U.S. fishermen and seafood consumers. American fishermen operate the most sustainable fisheries in the world, so it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure their market is not corrupted by pirate fishing operations. And seafood consumers deserve to trust that when they buy something labeled red snapper, they are actually getting red snapper.
This implementation plan will fortify the long term sustainability of U.S. fisheries and help recapture billions in global economic losses from illegal fishing activity by establishing comprehensive oversight mechanisms to better identify illegal fishing and seafood fraud, tracing seafood from bait to plate and improving coordination among domestic industry stakeholders and international governments.
Ensuring the recommendations are effective will mean providing accountable agencies with the resources needed to carry them out. Of particular importance is equipping the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, with more enforcement agents at sea to tackle the problem on the scene. Furthermore, because the plan only targets species currently most subject to fraud, the program must be nimble and able to adapt to inevitably evolving tactics of fishing criminals who will shift their activity to species that are not prioritized in the task force’s plan.
Related resource: Fighting Fraudulent Fishing by Shiva Polefka and Michael Conathan
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