Six Nations Identified as Engaging in Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud
The Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released this week a biennial report to Congress identifying six nations – Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Nicaragua and Portugal – as engaging in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. NOAA will work with each of these nations to address these activities and improve their fisheries management and enforcement practices. If any of these nations does not take sufficient action and does not receive a positive certification in the next biennial report, the U.S. may prohibit imports of fisheries products from that nation and deny port privileges to its fishing vessels.
NOAA’s 2013 report identified ten nations – Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Panama, Spain, Tanzania and Venezuela – whose vessels engaged in IUU fishing activities. The U.S. has determined that each took appropriate action to address the IUU activity identified in that report by adopting new laws and regulations or amending existing ones, sanctioning the offending vessels, improving monitoring and enforcement, or asking for a reexamination of the activities of certain vessels. Nevertheless, three of the nations identified in the 2013 report (Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico) have been reidentified in the 2015 report for new IUU activity.
No countries were identified for bycatch of protected living marine resources or for shark catch on the high seas in the 2015 report. Mexico was identified in the 2013 report for a lack of management measures for mitigating bycatch of North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles in the gillnet fishery in Mexico’s Gulf of Ulloa but has since made meaningful progress in developing a regulatory program to address this issue. As a result, NOAA will continue to work with Mexico and delay its certification decision until May 2015.