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NOAA Fisheries Releases Reports to Congress on Efforts to Combat IUU Fishing

May 31, 2024

Two reports summarize our efforts to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

American flag

NOAA Fisheries released a report to Congress summarizing efforts to prevent and deter the import of seafood harvested through illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. Another report summarized our efforts to investigate, enforce, and prosecute IUU fishing.

We use many tools to combat IUU fishing and prevent the movement of IUU fish and fish products through the seafood supply chain. They include regulatory programs, diplomatic efforts, capacity building, and enforcement technical assistance. Efforts range from preventing IUU fishing at its source to detecting and intercepting IUU fish and fish products at the border.

Seafood Import Monitoring Program

The Seafood Import Monitoring Program is both a screening mechanism and a deterrent against the entry of IUU fish and fish products and misrepresented seafood into the U.S. market. The report provides an overview of seafood imports subject to SIMP and associated audit findings and enforcement action associated with SIMP imports. The report also reviews NOAA’s advancement in automated screening and analysis of SIMP imports and the ongoing comprehensive program review.

NOAA Fisheries is committed to the ongoing development of SIMP as part of our comprehensive approach to combating IUU fishing and seafood fraud. To achieve this, we are working to further enhance and strengthen the program’s overall impact and effectiveness through a thorough and detailed program review.

In November 2023, we announced a comprehensive review of the program to enhance and strengthen its overall impact and effectiveness. The review will:

  • Look at SIMP’s goals
  • Consider what success means
  • Determine how to reach those goals with the available resources
  • Identify other actions needed to achieve the program’s objectives

Finally, the report reviews NOAA’s advancement in automated screening and analysis of SIMP imports through the development of its Global Seafood Data System. This analytical IT system would allow NOAA to automatically identify risk, conduct analyses, and produce reports from multiple data sets.

Efforts to Investigate, Enforce, and Prosecute Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported Fishing

The second report discusses the efforts of the Maritime SAFE Act Interagency Working Group. It summarizes the Working Group’s efforts to investigate, enforce, and prosecute groups and individuals engaging in IUU fishing.

The report lists specific investigations and enforcement actions related to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in 2022. It includes where imports were denied, help was provided for compliance, and investigations led to prosecutions. The report also showcases the work of individual agencies and joint operations, noting the activities ranging from individual agency efforts to complex multi-agency operations.

NOAA Fisheries, along with the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Coast Guard, co-chairs the Working Group, which was established under the Maritime SAFE Act. It employs a coordinated and cohesive approach to improving international fisheries management through combating IUU fishing and related threats to maritime security in priority regions and flag states. 

Last updated by Office of International Affairs, Trade, and Commerce on June 04, 2024