In a world of acronyms, IUU should be of interest to many Alaskans. The letters that stand for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated and IUU fishing represents a grave concern to those working to maintain sustainable fisheries in Alaska. Fish taken by vessels engaged in IUU undermine stocks available for properly regulated fishermen.
Every two years under previsions of the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act, Congress mandates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to prepare a report that identifies countries that allow or harbor vessels to participate in IUU fishing or don’t do enough to prevent their bycatch of protected fish stocks. There were ten nations reported to Congress in 2011 and 2012 that failed to regulate their fleets.
Countries identified with vessels that do not comply with recognized conservation and management measures were:
- Republic of Korea
In a press release, Deputy Assistant Secretary Russell Smith says, “NOAA’s international fisheries work is critical to the economic viability of U.S. fishing communities and the protection of U.S. jobs. This is about leveling the playing field for fishermen around the world, and IUU fishing represents one of the biggest threats to the U.S. fishing industry. Seafood is a global business, and U.S. fishermen following the rules should not have to compete with those using illegal or unsustainable fishing practices.”
Officials at NOAA state that they will begin consultations with these countries to encourage them to address IUU fishing and bycatch concerns. If a nation chooses not to correct these concerns, there are actions that can be taken against them. Among these options is the ability to deny access by fishing vessels to US ports and barring the import of seafood products, produced in the offending countries.
Researchers have projected the worldwide cost of IUU fishing ranges from $10 to $23 billion each year, representing some 11 to 26 million tons of seafood taken improperly. A copy of the NOAA report titled 2013 Biennial Report to Congress Identifying Nations for IUU Fishing that was prepared for Congress can be viewed online.
Copyright © 2013 by Alan Sorum