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U.S. and Europeans Unite Against Illegal Fishing

September 11, 2011

NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and Maria Damanaki, European Union commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, signed a joint statement pledging bilateral cooperation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing – a first for the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and the E.U. on fisheries management.  More here.

Generally, it calls for cooperation in international fora and the development of new tools to combat IUU fishing. While this is positive, I don’t share quite the enthusiasm as others.  This statement is merely aspirational and has few specific actions attached to it.    RFMOs are well-known to be dysfunctional even when they have proper regulations in place.  And what tools should we develop?

There are two points in the agreement that I like:

Consider a system for the exchange of information on suspected or confirmed IUU activities

Encourage the ratification and implementation of the FAO Port State Measures Agreement

Not the strongest language, but an information exchange system would be very useful, and the Port State Measures Agreement would be quite powerful if it can hit the required 25 ratifications.  So far we have just 4 since it opened for signature in 2009.




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