Pirate fishing hurts everyone

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Its fancy name is “illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” but call it what it is — pirate fishing. The good news, however, is that President Obama has signed a bipartisan bill to tackle the problem that impacts all anglers, recreational or commercial.

The “Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015” (IUU) strengthens international fisheries by aiming to stop vessels suspected of fishing illegally from selling their catch in U.S. markets. Specifically, the legislation implements the international Port State Measures Agreement, an important 2009 treaty that requires signatory nations to deny entry and services to any ships that have fished illegally and, most importantly, to share information about those vessels with international partners.

The implications of the IUU cut across fishing interests. For recreational anglers, the move to decrease pirate fishing can lead to healthier and more plentiful fish stocks and, it follows, less need for sudden and often unjustified closures to recreational anglers by National Marine Fisheries.

On the commercial side, the United States is a big fish importer and has applicable regulations to sustain fisheries, albeit recreational anglers rightfully continue to call for a more scientific approach to fish management.

That said, there’s no question global illegal fishing activities force U.S. commercial fishermen to compete on an uneven playing field. If nothing else, the IUU could help combat overfishing around the world and provides for much-needed stiffer enforcement against those who break the law.

Illegal and unreported fishing alone accounts for catches worth as much as $23.5 billion annually or, it is estimated, up to 26 million tons of fish. Further, it’s believed illegal catches constitute about 20 percent of all the seafood we import in the United States. And consumers are often defrauded by intentional mislabeling of seafood in the marketplace.

The IUU will help federal prosecution of pirate fishing. Moreover, it’s another positive move for overall fishing. For example, it goes hand-in-hand with increased efforts by the U.S. Coast Guard to intercept illegal fishing boats in U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico where Mexican fishing vessels have been illegally slipping in and out of U.S. waters.

Regardless of whether or not you think our U.S. fisheries management is getting the job done well, pirate fishing clearly undermines all efforts for sustainable fisheries management. This is particularly true on the open seas — waters beyond the jurisdiction of coastal states — and it has substantial social and economic ramifications. The marine industry stands for credible management of our fisheries and the IUU should be applauded as a step in the right direction.

The IUU bill was introduced by Reps. Madeleine Z. Bordallo, D-Guam, in the House and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, in the Senate.

Related

Netherlands Eases Covid Measures as Metstrade Approaches

The moves by the Dutch government open up travel prior to the show, which is scheduled for Nov. 16-18 at RAI Amsterdam.

Coming to America

Swedish electric boat builder X Shore has established a North American sales office in Newport, R.I.

Registration Opens for ABYC Standards Week

Scheduled for Jan. 10-14, the conference includes sessions to review current and new standards, the group’s annual meeting and the Marine Law Symposium.

New Initiatives To Push Boating Safety

The Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida and Discover Boating are promoting on-water safety, one in a digital format and and one analog.

Yamaha Develops Electric Propulsion System

The Harmo system comprises a rim-drive electric motor that turns an impeller.

Mercury Supports Local Food Drive

Employees in Fond du Lac, Wis., donated more than $5,600 and 2,500 pounds of food during the company’s annual Fill the Boat to Cast Out Hunger drive.

A Record Cannes Show

The first major boat show to be held in Europe in more than a year drew 54,400 attendees during its six-day run.

Iconic Cleveland Show Returns to the I-X Center

Also, the Northwest Marine Trade Association is offering grants to promote boating and fishing.