The Hong Kong Sustainable Seafood Coalition—an organization of 12 Hong Kong and Macau seafood importers, international hotel chains, and retailers—agreed in June to focus on the assessment and avoidance of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in its members’ supply chains. Hong Kong imports 90 percent of its seafood, of which up to 75 percent falls within the IUU category, according to local industry estimates. Pew’s ending illegal fishing project says this commitment will help its efforts to persuade global seafood buyers to adopt policies that avoid and assess IUU risks in their supply chains and provide leadership on this issue in the East Asia region.
The Senate homeland security committee passed a bill in June that would create a new source of federal funding for preparedness activities that reduce flood risks and damage from disasters. A provision in the bill sets aside an additional 6 percent of all federal disaster spending for mitigation, establishing a permanent funding source for such activities. Preventive actions such as elevation of structures and relocation of flood-prone properties have a $6 return on every $1 invested. Pew supports increased investment in mitigation to reduce the nation’s disaster costs and better prepare communities for the increased threat of flooding.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council voted in June to protect vulnerable deep-sea corals. Twenty-one coral hot spots identified by scientists as priorities for protection—totaling 484 square miles, an area twice the size of New Orleans—were designated as “Habitat Areas of Particular Concern.” Under this measure, damaging fishing gear such as trawls, bottom longlines, and traps is now banned year-round in most sites. Corals grow slowly and can live thousands of years; once damaged, they may take centuries or longer to recover. For five years, Pew staff provided recommendations, met with managers and fishermen, developed maps to educate fishing crews, and generated strong public support.
In July, the antibiotic resistance project and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new research in JAMA Internal Medicine on inappropriate antibiotic prescribing in urgent care centers and retail health clinics in the U.S. The study found that patients going to urgent care centers for conditions that do not require an antibiotic (e.g., cold, flu, allergies) still received such a drug 46 percent of the time. The research is part of an ongoing collaboration between Pew and CDC to improve antibiotic prescribing across all health care settings.
Pew’s experts recently worked on fiscal issues in a number of states that led to new policies to establish warning systems for school finances, stabilize revenue, evaluate tax incentive effectiveness, and improve public retirement programs: