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.