Oceana Tells Congress: Fishery Sustainability Undercut by Illegal Fishing, Seafood Fraud and Human Rights Abuses
Congressional Hearing Highlights Need for Expanded Seafood Traceability and Transparency
Press Release Date: May 1, 2019
Today, Oceana’s deputy vice president for U.S. campaigns Beth Lowell testified before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife in a hearing titled “The State of Fisheries.” In her testimony, Lowell said that the benefits of responsible fisheries management are undermined by illegal fishing, seafood fraud and human rights abuses.
“Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing ignores fisheries laws and regulations, amounting to losses of $10 to $23.5 billion per year,” said Lowell. “Seafood fraud complicates fishery management, cheats consumers and undermines honest seafood businesses. Oceana found that more than 30 percent of the seafood tested at restaurants, grocery stores and markets was mislabeled.”
The federal government took initial steps to address illegal fishing and seafood fraud by establishing the Seafood Import Monitoring Program in 2018, which requires catch documentation and traceability for some imported seafood from the point of catch to the U.S. border. “This was a huge first step, but it won’t solve the problem alone,” said Lowell. “We need transparency of fishing practices and traceability of seafood products to make sure that U.S. dollars are not supporting illegal activities on the high seas or undermining fishermen and businesses that follow the rules.”
“Shining a light on what happens at sea and tracing seafood from boat to plate can help ensure that our seafood is safe, legally caught, responsibly sourced and honestly labeled,” said Lowell.
To read Lowell’s testimony, please click here.
To learn more, visit https://usa.oceana.org/our-campaigns/illegal_fishing_and_seafood_fraud/campaign.