NOAA identifies IUU countries

11 Feb 2015
Six nations have been identified as engaging in IUU fishing. Credit: Mike Markovina/Marine Photobank

Six nations have been identified as engaging in IUU fishing. Credit: Mike Markovina/Marine Photobank

NOAA has identified six nations as engaging in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) in its 2015 biennial report to Congress.

IUU activity of the identified nations - Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Nicaragua, and Portugal - included violations such as fishing in restricted areas, tuna discards, misreported catch, and improper handling of turtle entanglement. NOAA Fisheries has said it will work with each of these nations to address these activities and improve their fisheries management and enforcement practices. If the nation does not take sufficient action and does not receive a positive certification in the next biennial report, the US may prohibit the import of fisheries products from that nation and deny port privileges to their fishing vessels.

“As one of the largest importers of seafood in the world, the United States has a global responsibility and economic duty to ensure that the fish we import is caught sustainably and legally,” said Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and NOAA administrator. “Tackling this challenge will require sustained collaboration between industry, conservation groups, and government.”

The 2013 report identified 10 nations - Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Spain, Tanzania, Venezuela - whose vessels engaged in IUU fishing activities. Over the last two years, the United States worked with these 10 nations and determined that each took appropriate action by adopting new laws and regulations or amending existing ones, sanctioning the offending vessels, improving monitoring and enforcement, or asking for a re-examination of the activities of certain vessels. While all 10 nations took appropriate action to address IUU activity in the 2013 report, three (Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico) have been re-identified in the 2015 report for new IUU activity.

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