Illegal Fishing and Transparency
Expanding Transparency and Traceability to Stop Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud
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The world’s oceans face a dire threat: Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. Across the globe, IUU fishing depletes marine resources, destroys habitats and is explicitly linked to forced labor and human rights abuses. While the federal government has taken some steps to combat these problems in the past, an estimated $2.4 billion worth of seafood derived from IUU fishing was imported into the U.S. in 2019 alone. Oceana is working to ensure that U.S. dollars do not continue supporting these illicit activities at sea, which can impact the economy, environment and human rights. Background: IUU fishing costs the global seafood industry as much as $26 billion to $50 billion annually. In the United States, up to 90% of the fish consumed is imported, with up to 32% of wild-caught seafood imports being products of illegal or unreported fishing. IUU fishing can include fishing without authorization, ignoring catch limits, operating in closed areas, targeting protected wildlife, and fishing with prohibited gear. These illicit activities can destroy essential habitats, severely deplete fish populations, and threaten global food security. These actions not only contribute to overfishing, but also give bad actors an unfair advantage over honest fishermen that play by the rules. Oceana’s campaign aims to stop illegal fishing, increase transparency at sea and require traceability for all seafood ensuring every fish sold in the U.S. is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced and honestly labeled.
February 5, 2019
Oceana Investigation Keeps One of the World’s Largest Fish Factory Vessels on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing List
Following an investigation by Oceana, the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO) decided to keep the fish factory vessel Damanzaihao (now named Vladivostok 2000) on its list of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing vessels, and issued warnings to China, Panama and Cook Islands for providing assistance to the vessel. The SPRFMO’s Compliance and Technical Committee found that these three countries were not in compliance with conservation and management measures to combat IUU fishing and issued them a “priority non-compliance” status, which reflects violations to SPRFMO regulations.
December 31, 2018
Shrimp and Abalone Added to U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program
As of December 31, 2018, shrimp and abalone are now included in the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program, which requires traceability for seafood at risk of illegal fishing and seafood fraud.
October 26, 2018
Peru’s Vessel Tracking Data Now Publicly Available Through Global Fishing Watch
As world leaders gathered in Bali, Indonesia for the fifth-annual Our Ocean conference, Peru took bold action to make its national vessel tracking data publicly available for the first time through Global Fishing Watch (GFW). Anyone can now view Peru’s commercial fishing vessels via GFW’s map platform, in near real time, for free.
August 29, 2017
U.S. Court Upholds Rule Requiring Traceability for At-Risk Seafood Imports
A federal court ruled in favor of upholding the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, rejecting a lawsuit that would have invalidated the rule. The program helps to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud by increasing seafood traceability. The Commerce Department program, also known as the Seafood Traceability Rule, was implemented by the US government following campaigning by Oceana. It requires seafood importers of species like tuna, grouper, swordfish, red snapper and blue crab to provide specific information before their products can enter the United States, including what kind of fish it is, as well as how and where it was caught or farmed. Oceana (represented by Earthjustice), the Center for Biological Diversity and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a joint amicus brief in support of the Seafood Traceability Rule.
June 7, 2017
Peru Commits to Publish Vessel Tracking Data through Global Fishing Watch
The Peruvian government made a public commitment to make its national vessel tracking data publicly available through Global Fishing Watch. This means data for all of Peru’s fisheries will be made public, including for the country’s famous anchoveta fishery which has historically been the world’s largest fishery by weight. This decision will make Peru’s enormous and important fisheries transparent and accountable to governments, fishery managers, seafood suppliers and buyers, journalists, researchers, nonprofit organizations and citizens around the world and assist in the responsible management of these ocean resources. The commitment, which was announced at The Ocean Conference hosted by the United Nations in New York City, was the result of Oceana’s collaboration with the Peruvian government to increase transparency of commercial fishing in Peru’s waters.
News & Reports
Around the Web
June 27, 2022
Source: Associated Press
April 18, 2022
Source: Seafood Source