United Nations Highlights Fight Against Illegal Fishing

The united nation observed the june 5 as international day for the Fight against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing. Calling attention to a serious issue that threatens marine biodiversity and disrupts the economy while being closely connects to more wide-reaching criminal activities. It carries out in violation of regulations in force. Or, and produces annual illegal gross profits in the tens of billions of U.S. dollars. Leading to equal losses in the economy from unpaid taxes, customs, and license fees.

IUU Fishing:  Threat to Marine Biodiversity and border security

IUU fishing is among the most serious threats to marine biodiversity. The integrity of in the context of climate change, acidification, and pollution. t practices eventually lead to depleted stocks. Ultimately affecting the people who depend on them—coastal communities that rely on this resource for  food and livelihoods. IUU fishers put undue pressure on the economic stability of these communities by engaging in unfair competition.

Security concerns and environmental issues are both serious implications of IUU fishing. It is often linked to various criminal activities, such as forced labor, trafficking in drugs and arms, and money laundering. This makes combating IUU fishing a multidimensional challenge that needs a comprehensive approach engaging the different stakeholders.

Global Efforts: Combat Illegal fishing

IUU fishing is a transnational problem that requires coordinated global attention. Success depends on the collaboration of the world’s governments, international organizations, regional fisheries management organizations, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and local communities. The private sector, including law-abiding fishers, vessel owners, operators, and seafood processors, who directly feel the impacts of IUU fishing, is also another stakeholder.

The United States has been in the forefront. In the global fight against IUU fishing, and in promoting sustainable fisheries, protection of ocean ecosystems, and strengthening coastal communities. Through a combination of global, regional, and bilateral initiatives, we achieve enhancing maritime security and promoting responsible fishing practices.

SAFE Act- The US strategy

The Safety and for Enforcement (SAFE) Port Act is illustrative of a far-reaching whole-of-government approach. The Act brings together many government agencies that oversee fishery management, trade, patrolling waters, and working with international partners. This whole-of-government approach ensures a coordinated and effective response to IUU fishing and its associated threats.

On the international stage, the U.S. is a leader in regional fisheries management organizations. Which advocates on behalf of the Port State Measures agreement, and advances negotiations in the World Trade Organization to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies. These efforts are part of broader multilateral initiatives to comprehensively address IUU fishing by strengthening international governance structures.

Sustainable Fisheries and Marine Security

Based on President Biden’s 2022 National Security Memorandum on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Associated Labor Abuses.  National Five-Year Strategy for Combating IUU Fishing has been published by the United States. The Strategy establishes specific objectives and monitoring indicators to construct partnerships and programs. To counter IUU fishing and to strengthen maritime security in at-risk zones. The strategy that guided by three overarching objectives:

1.Support sustainable fisheries management worldwide.

2.Actively monitor, control, and surveillance of marine fishing activities.

3.Ensure that only legal, sustainable, and responsibly harvested seafood enters commerce.

Regional Engagements in Combating Illegal Fishing

Engagement with partner countries in targeted regions is vital to the effectiveness of such actions.  the United States, with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, collaborates with Senegal to support the development of judicial and prosecutorial capacity to address IUU fishing crime. The United States also funds vessel boarding training in Senegal with the help of INTERPOL to strengthen IUU fishing surveillance.

In the Philippines, USAID is also partnering with the government, academia, and fishing communities to address industrial-scale illegal fishing and increase local fisher’s compliance. With the IUU fishing threat assessment and index tool, we published a national assessment report to reinforce law enforcement, compliance, and IFF awareness.

Another indispensable element in achieving these goals is that of public-private partnerships, which will have the best results if harnessed with cutting-edge technologies and tools produced by NGOs and the seafood industry to pinpoint bad actors and ensure responsible supply chains. For instance, in Peru and Ecuador, USAID, together with the Walton Family Foundation, backs Por la Pesca. The past two years, the program has registered 750 vessels, trained over 2,700 fishers, and stimulated the adoption of six legal reforms to increase the effectiveness of fisheries management.

Conclusion: international cooperation for sustainable fisheries

The United States is committ to leading global efforts to combat IUU fishing through a comprehensive, strong, and internationally collaborative approach. Internationally, joint actions are taken to support living fishing industries, guarantee food security, and protect marine ecosystems. These actions are seen as ultimately contributing to the sustainability and well-being of communities around the globe.

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