Maritime SAFE Act Interagency Working Group on IUU Fishing
The Maritime Security and Fisheries Enforcement (SAFE) Act requires the establishment of an Interagency Working Group to strengthen maritime security and combat IUU fishing.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries. It also threatens our economic security and the natural resources that are critical to global food security, and it puts law-abiding fishermen and seafood producers in the United States and abroad at a disadvantage.
The Maritime Security and Fisheries Enforcement (SAFE) Act was passed in December 2019 to provide a whole-of-government approach to counter IUU fishing and related threats to maritime security. Section 3551 of the Act requires the establishment of an Interagency Working Group to strengthen maritime security and combat IUU fishing.
This Working Group brings together twenty-one agencies for an integrated, Federal Government-wide response to IUU fishing globally. The chair and deputy chairs of the Working Group rotates among NOAA, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Coast Guard. NOAA is serving as the first chair. The members of the Working Group include representatives from:
- U.S. Coast Guard;
- Department of State;
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
- Department of Defense;
- United States Navy;
- United States Agency for International Development;
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service;
- Department of Justice;
- Department of the Treasury;
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
- Federal Trade Commission;
- Department of Agriculture;
- Food and Drug Administration;
- Department of Labor;
- One or more members from the intelligence community, appointed by the Director of National Intelligence;
- National Security Council;
- Council on Environmental Quality;
- Office of Management and Budget;
- Office of Science and Technology Policy; and
- Office of the United States Trade Representative.
The Working Group held its inaugural meeting on June 24, 2020. Paul Doremus, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator for Operations, chaired the meeting in coordination with Deputy Chairs, Evan Bloom, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, Department of State, and Captain Timothy Brown, Chief of the Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard. The Working Group discussed priority activities, as well as processes for identifying priority regions and priority flag states, engagement with stakeholders, reports to Congress, and Working Group structure. The Working Group will meet again in late summer 2020. The work of this group will also include implementation of Section 5 of the Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth, issued on May 7, 2020.