Task force releases plan to combat illegal fishing

The Obama administration is working to crackdown on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

The Presidential Task Force on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud, a byproduct of a June 2014 presidential memorandum, released its recommendations Monday to combat seafood fraud throughout the seafood supply chain.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. imports more than 90 percent of its seafood, which can lead to a high demand for imported fish and create incentives for illegal fishing activity. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The plans calls for a risk-based traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into the U.S. marketplace and asks Congress to ratify and pass the Port State Measures Agreement to force participating nations to designate which ports foreign vessels can request entry and requires foreign vessels seeking port entry to provide advanced notice with detailed information relevant to their fishing activities and fish on board.

“Illegal fishing and seafood fraud affect the American public and people around the world,” State Department Under Secretary Cathy Novelli said in a release. “The plan we are releasing today puts us on course to tackle these complex global challenges, with a new traceability program at its heart.

The task force plans to finalize its rulemaking to collect additional information on species at risk as a requisite of entry into U.S. commerce by September 2016 and identify the next steps in expanding the program to all seafood entering U.S. commerce by December 2016.

The task force also plans to wrap-up Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations this year  and include commitments to combat illegal fishing and, for the first time, provisions to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies.