In a biennial report to Congress, NOAA identifies nations or entities whose fishing vessels have engaged in IUU fishing activities, and nations and entities having fishing activities and practices that result in bycatch of protected living marine resources, or shark catch beyond any national jurisdiction, where such nations have not adopted regulatory measures comparable to the United States. Once a nation or entity is identified, NOAA Fisheries enters into a two-year consultation period to press for necessary measures to address the identified issue. A positive certification is issued if the nation has provided evidence of actions that address the activities for which it was identified. A negative certification may result in denial of U.S. port access for fishing vessels of that nation and potential import restrictions on fish or fish products.
Port Restrictions Under the Moratorium Protection Act
NOAA Fisheries has announced port restrictions on all Mexican fishing vessels that fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Effective February 7, 2022, these vessels are prohibited from entering U.S. ports, and will be denied port access and services.
This action by the United States is a result of Mexico’s identification for IUU fishing in 2019 and subsequent negative certification in NOAA Fisheries’ 2021 Report to Congress on Improving International Fisheries for its continued failure to combat unauthorized fishing activities by small hulled vessels (called lanchas) in U.S. waters.
The United States is committed to working with the Government of Mexico to support its actions to address the issues identified in 2019 and 2021, and is ready to re-establish U.S. port privileges for Mexican fishing vessels operating in the Gulf of Mexico once actions are taken by Mexico.