Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, a lack of transparency of fishing and seafood fraud are significant threats to the health of the oceans. With millions of people depending on seafood for nutritional and economic benefits, responsibly managed fisheries are critical.  IUU fishing is a low-risk, high-reward activity, especially on the high seas where a fragmented legal framework and lack of effective enforcement allows it to thrive. A lack of transparency allows vessels to hide far from shore and potentially engage in illicit activity at sea. Seafood fraud undermines honest businesses and fishers that play by the rules, rips off consumers and can even impact their health. Seafood fraud can also provide illegally caught fish with a new legal identity. IUU fishing is off the books, ignores domestic and international fisheries laws, and can even drive forced labor and human rights abuses in the seafood sector. The U.S. International Trade Commission estimated that the US imported $2.4 billion of seafood products derived from IUU fishing in 2019. This illicit seafood competes with legally sourced catch and undermines fishermen and seafood businesses that follow the rules. Transparency at sea and traceability of seafood are essential to end IUU fishing and restore healthy fisheries.

Oceana is working to help stop illegal fishing, increase transparency at sea, and require traceability of all seafood to ensure that all seafood sold in the US is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced and honestly labeled.