Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is a global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing products often come from fisheries that lack the strong and effective conservation and management measures that U.S. fishermen are subject to. IUU fishing most often violates conservation and management measures, such as quotas or bycatch limits, established under international agreements. By negatively impacting fisheries, marine ecosystems, food security, and coastal communities around the world, IUU fishing undermines domestic and international conservation and management. Furthermore, IUU fishing risks the sustainability of the multi-billion-dollar U.S. fishing industry.
NOAA's Role in Combating IUU Fishing
Because the United States imports nearly 90 percent of the seafood we eat, NOAA Fisheries is working to ensure that the high demand for imported seafood does not create incentives for illegal fishing activity. Partnering with other U.S. government agencies, foreign governments and entities, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector is crucial to effectively combating IUU fishing. We work with other fishing nations to strengthen enforcement and data collection programs aimed at reducing IUU fishing around the world. We have put measures in place to restrict port entry and access to port services for vessels that are on the IUU lists of international fisheries organizations that the United States belongs to.
Reports to Congress on IUU Fishing, Bycatch, and Shark Catch
The Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act, which amends the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act, requires NOAA to identify countries whose fishing vessels engage in IUU fishing activities. Once NOAA identifies a nation, we consult with them to encourage appropriate corrective action. If the nation does not take appropriate action, it receives a negative certification, and we may prohibit imports of fisheries products from that nation. The Lacey Act also authorizes the United States to impose sanctions against individuals and companies that traffic illegally taken fish and wildlife.
Capacity Building to Counter IUU Fishing
Capacity building involves providing organizations and communities the tools, resources, information, and information sharing avenues to allow them to solve IUU fishing issues, usually through technical assistance and training workshops. We provide capacity building and technical assistance to international partners and agencies through government-to-government interactions. We respond to requests for assistance in building enforcement capacity internationally to combat IUU fishing and to promote sustainable seafood practices.
International and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations
NOAA participates in various international and regional fisheries management organizations that promote international cooperation to achieve effective, responsible marine stewardship and ensure sustainable fisheries management.
Resources and Other Links
For more information or questions on IUU fishing, please contact David Pearl (email@example.com), NOAA Fisheries Office of International Affairs and Seafood Inspection.