United States NOAA Fisheries (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has released its 2015 Biennial Report to Congress highlighting U.S. findings and analyses of foreign illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing activities and of by-catch of protected species and shark catch on the high seas for foreign fleets.
Six nations - Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Portugal - were identified in the 2015 Report as having vessels engaged in IUU activity. On behalf of the United States, NOAA Fisheries will engage in consultations with each of the nations to press for corrective action to address these activities and improve their fisheries management and enforcement practices relating to IUU fishing.
Ten nations identified as having vessels engaged in IUU in the previous 2013 Report to Congress -Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Spain, Tanzania, Venezuela- received a positive certification following consultations with the U.S. Government and taking appropriate action through amending laws or adopting new laws and regulations, sanctioning the vessels, and improving monitoring and enforcement.
However, due to by-catch of endangered sea turtles, certification of Mexico has been delayed until May 2015. Mexico has made meaningful progress in adopting a regulatory program to address the problem and NOAA Fisheries will continue to consult with Mexico to expedite its implementation.
In addition the new report updates domestic, regional, and global efforts to combat IUU fishing, minimize by-catch of protected species, and conserve sharks.
NOAA Fisheries highlights that combating IUU fishing continues to be a top priority for this body and the United States, as is demonstrated by the establishment of the Presidential Task Force to Combat IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud.
The federal agency assures it will continue to work with foreign governments to track, expose, and deter these and other unsustainable fishing practices. (FIS).-