FishWise Responds to Presidential Task Force Combatting IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud

Created on Tuesday, 09 September 2014

On June 17, 2014 President Obama released a memorandum entitled “Establishing a Comprehensive Framework to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Seafood Fraud.” This document established a Presidential Task Force under the Departments of State and Commerce, which is composed of representatives from many other federal agencies.

The Task Force has been directed to identify the areas of greatest need with respect to IUU and seafood fraud, and to report back to the President within six months with recommendations for programs to address them. As a part of the process to identify the most critical IUU and fraud challenges, the Task Force invited comment from experts, key stakeholders, and seafood interest groups.

FishWise submitted two letters to the Task Force:

Links between IUU Fishing, Human Rights, and Traceability 

This letter describes the related nature of IUU fishing, human rights, and traceability within the seafood industry, and suggests ways to include human rights improvements within the Task Force recommendations. This letter was also signed by the Environmental Justice Foundation, Fair Trade USA, Humanity United, New England Aquarium, and Anti-Slavery International.

Recommendations to address IUU fishing and traceability

This letter describes the risks to businesses of importing mislabeled and illegally harvested seafood into the United States, and how improved traceability and other measures can help to address IUU fishing. Recommendations include:

  • Incentivize traceability improvements made by seafood companies
  • Support unique vessel identifiers like IMO numbers and the creation of a Global Record of Fishing Vessels
  • Continue to support ratification and implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PMSA)
  • Encourage international efforts to improve transparency, monitoring, control and surveillance
  • Update interagency agreements to encourage collaboration to address these challenges