Saturday, November 21, 2015

New Law to Combat Illegal Fishing

On November 5, 2015, President Obama has signed the H.R.774 - Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU)Fishing Enforcement Act. The Act aims to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

The new law attempts to:

- prevent illegally harvested fish from entering the United States, and

- support efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries around the world.

The US now joins a global effort to ratify the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) to preclude ships carrying illegally caught fish from entering US ports. The PSMA will become legally binding after a total of 25 countries have ratified it. The US is the fourteenth country to have ratified the  PSMA.

Implementation of this legislation was the first Recommendation of the IUU Action Plan published on March 15, 2015 by the President’s Task Force on Combating IUU and Seafood Fraud.  The Task Force is co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and State.

The new law will allow the US to work with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, which is responsible for the conservation and management of tuna and other marine resources in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

According to the Statement by the Press Secretary of the White House, “[t]hese measures will benefit U.S. fishermen, seafood buyers, and consumers by protecting our domestic fishermen from unfair, illegal competition and ensure consumer confidence in the seafood supply. The signing of this bill will also enhance our ability to prevent IUU fish and fish product from entering U.S. commerce by strengthening domestic enforcement authorities. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to secure the necessary enforcement authorities to prevent illegally harvested or falsely labeled fish from being sold in the United States, and to level the playing field for the U.S. fishing industry.”

All photos Copyright 2015 Sergei Tokmakov