09/07/2011 - The United States and the European Union announced a bilateral agreement on Wednesday on combating illegal fishing, saying that the practice deprives legitimate fishermen and coastal communities of billions of dollars of revenue each year.
Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, and Maria Damanaki, the European Union’s commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, announced the deal in Washington. The pact calls for cooperation on adopting effective management measures in regional and international organizations to combat illegal fishing and promoting tools that prevent illegal fishing operators from benefiting economically from their activities. The United States and the European Union will also share information on illegal fisheries and “promote the sustainable use of fisheries resources while preserving marine biodiversity,’’ the two sides said.
Policymakers argue that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing — known as “I.U.U.” fishing or pirate fishing — makes a mockery of national and international laws meant to ensure fish stocks are managed in a sustainable manner.
Environmentalists welcomed the news. Joshua S. Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, said in a statement that it ‘‘could represent a major turning point for the health of the oceans, communities that depend on fish and the majority of fishermen who play by the rules.’’
‘‘Because closing the net on pirate fishing in one area often results in criminals simply moving to another, we look forward to working with the EU and the U.S. to build a global fisheries enforcement system — the only way to truly stop these crimes on a broad scale,’’ he said.
Read the full article, U.S. and Europeans Unite Against Illegal Fishing, on The New York Times' Web site.