Illegal fishing is a global concern that plunders natural resources, takes business from law-abiding fishing fleets, cheats fish-dependent coastal communities, and skews scientific assessments that measure the state of fisheries. On March 16, a White House task force issued a final plan to help address each of those problems.
With commercial fishing supporting 1 million U.S. jobs, President Barack Obama created the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud last summer. Its plan commits the U.S. government to 15 specific measures intended to shore up fisheries monitoring and enforcement in U.S. waters and beyond.
Among the actions included in its report, the task force said the government will:
The task force includes representation from 14 government agencies, including the Commerce Department, the Defense Department, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. It is critical that the task force members continue to show strong leadership and turn the final plan into action, said Tony Long, who leads Pew’s work to end illegal fishing.
“It is heartening to see that the task force plan recognizes illegal fishing as a critical global problem that threatens U.S. businesses and deceives consumers,” Long said. “We are excited to partner with and support the U.S. government in our mutual quest to end illegal fishing. By doing so, we will help law-abiding fishermen, the environment, and communities around the world that depend on sustainable, legal fisheries.”