President Obama addresses seafood fraud and illegal fishing
This morning, President Barack Obama announced an initiative to tackle seafood fraud and illegal fishing in the United States. His announcement coincides with the Global "Our Ocean" conference convened by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In President Obama's announcement, he referenced the negative financial repercussions of overfishing as one of the key reasons for the initiative:
"Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to undermine the economic and environmental sustainability of fisheries and fish stocks, both in the United States and around the world. Global losses attributable to the black market from IUU fishing are estimated to be $10-23 billion annually, weakening profitability for legally caught seafood, fueling illegal trafficking operations, and undermining economic opportunity for legitimate fishermen in the United States and around the world."
As Beth Lowell of Oceana noted in an earlier post, between 20 percent and 32 percent of seafood imported into the U.S. comes from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. "These pirate fishermen often use illegal gear, fish in prohibited areas or catch endangered and threatened species. Illegal fishing is a major threat to the worldwide fishing industry, undermining decades of conservation measures and provoking billions of dollars in economic losses." Oceana sites traceability — that is, tracking seafood from catch to plate — as one of the key solutions to the global problem.
President Obama's initiative starts with stronger guidelines and better enforcement of existing traceability standards: "It shall be the policy of the United States for all executive departments and agencies (agencies) to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud by strengthening coordination and implementation of relevant existing authorities and, where appropriate, by improving the transparency and traceability of the seafood supply chain."
Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Triple Pundit.
Seafood image via Shutterstock.