US Congress Report on Improving International Fisheries Management / by Francisco Blaha

The US Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 (MSRA) acknowledged the need for international cooperation to address fishing activities that have a deleterious effect on sustainable fisheries worldwide. The US Congress directed the Executive Branch to strengthen its leadership in international fisheries management and enforcement, particularly with regard to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and unsustainable fishing practices such as bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMRs).

The US Congress requires the Secretary of Commerce every two years to identify countries whose fishing vessels were engaged in these activities, and to consult with those countries on improving their fisheries management and enforcement practices.

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This is an important document that influences countries engaging in IUU fishing. I was a bit disappointed this year that only Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Nicaragua, and Portugal were identified, and Belize (that just came out of the EU's red card list), Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Spain identified as Countries “of Interest” but not Identified.

The definition of IUU fishing for the purposes of implementing this particular legislation is largely focused on flag state compliance with RFMO conservation measures, to which the US is involved. So that may explain the absence of as e.g. China, Taiwan) and Korea.

Again, these documents, may not have a direct impact... is not that that the US stop buying from these countries... and while "name and shame" has limited impact, is better that nothing!

The report can be downloaded from here