Welcomes U.S. Action Plan to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing

We welcome U.S. Action Plan to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing


Presidential Task Force’s Planned aggressive steps to prevent IUU fishing are much needed

We welcome the new action plan released yesterday by the Presidential Task Force on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud, co-chaired by the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State with 12 other federal agencies, for combating IUU fishing and seafood fraud. IUU fishing is a significant global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and the future of sustainable fishing, as well as causing major economic loss.

Fundamental to the Task Force’s plan will be the creation of a traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into U.S. commerce, helping to ensure that seafood products are correctly labeled. The plan will also encompass working with international partners to limit IUU fishing via far-reaching free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), between the U.S. and 11 other countries, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), between the U.S. and the European Union. Together, these two partnerships represent more than 70 percent of the value of all global seafood imports. 

“We welcome this news from the Presidential Task Force, enacting an aggressive and comprehensive plan to combat IUU fishing,” said Priscilla Ma, our U.S. Executive Director of World Animal Protection. “By working to ensure enforceable provisions on illegal fishing are included in free trade agreements such as TPP and T-TIP, the United States can play a leading role in lessening the severe global impacts of IUU fishing on the world’s marine life.”

Illegal fishing contributes to the proliferation of abandoned and lost fishing gear, known as ghost gear -- an estimated 640,000 tons of which are lost in the world’s oceans each year. For every 125 tons of fish caught, about a ton of ghost gear is left behind. This debris continues to catch animals indiscriminately, entangling and killing hundreds of species including seals, turtles and whales. Ghost gear can persist for hundreds of years and is a major concern in the United States due to its expansive coastal regions and vibrant fishing industry.