US and China agree to increase fisheries cooperation

15 May 2011

The third US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) meeting was held 9–10 May in Washington, DC.

A significant outcome of the S&ED relates to their renewed dialogue on bilateral fisheries and ocean management.

The countries agreed to establish regular bilateral fisheries consultations that will focus on conserving and managing marine living resources, expanding current efforts in high-seas fisheries enforcement and combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. These consultations will improve cooperation between the two nations on a variety of important issues including preventing IUU fish and fish products from entering international markets, collecting data on species of particular concern in order to ensure their sustainable management and conservation, and preventing illegal or unintended take of sea turtles and other protected marine species.

Currently, the United States and China work multilaterally in various regional fishery management organisations to manage shared fish stocks and participate in other global organisations that protect ocean resources as part of their mandate. Having regular bilateral consultations will allow for better coordination to achieve common goals in those organisations and an enhanced dialogue to help bridge any differences. The new fisheries consultations will also lead to opportunities for the two nations to cooperate on fisheries enforcement and other activities that will improve global fisheries and fish supplies.

“This joint commitment to consult on fisheries management and enforcement will strengthen the US-China relationship on fisheries management and ensure more coordinated and comprehensive management of the fish and living marine resources on which both of our economies and fishing industries depend,” said Russell Smith, deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The United States and China also agreed to build upon existing agreements reached at the 18th SOA-NOAA Joint Working Group Meeting on Cooperation on Marine and Fishery Science and Technology to formulate the US-China 2011–2015 Framework Plan for Ocean and Fishery Science and Technology Cooperation. This framework would guide the future cooperation between China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) and NOAA and promote further development of a U.S.-China large-scale multidisciplinary joint program for the Indian and Southern Oceans in the near future. This joint program will be focused on increasing understanding of the role of the oceans in climate variability and change and support management needs.

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