The Department of Commerce has issued a biennial report identifying the nations of concern with respect to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and related forced labor activities.
The 2023 report identifies Angola, China, Grenada, Mexico, Taiwan, The Gambia, and Vanuatu for IUU fishing. Identifications for China and Taiwan include information related to seafood-related goods produced through forced labor. China and Vanuatu are additionally identified for shark catch without a regulatory program comparable to that of the U.S. The DOC notes that this is the first time, as part of this report, that it has identified nations for shark catch and considered forced labor in the seafood sector when making IUU fishing identifications.
The DOC will work with the identified nations over the next two years to address the activities of concern and will thereafter issue a certification determination for each indicating whether it has taken actions to remedy those activities. A negative certification will result in the denial of U.S. port access for fishing vessels of the specified nation and can result in restrictions on the importation of its fish or fish products into the U.S.
With respect to nations identified for IUU fishing in the DOC’s 2021 report, Costa Rica, Guyana, Senegal, and Taiwan have received positive certification determinations but China, Mexico, and Russia have received negative certification determinations. The DOC notes that certain vessels from Mexico (which has been negatively certified twice in a row now) have been denied entry into U.S. ports since February 2022.
The 2021 report also identified numerous countries over concerns about bycatch of protected living marine resources. The DOC has now made positive certifications for China, Croatia, Egypt, the European Union, Grenada, Guyana, Japan, Korea, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, and Taiwan for taking corrective actions.
However, Algeria, Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Namibia, Senegal, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, and Turkey have received negative certifications for not having a regulatory program comparable to that of the U.S. to reduce bycatch of sea turtles in pelagic longline fisheries. Additionally, Mexico has been negatively certified for its lack of a comparable regulatory program to reduce or minimize bycatch of endangered North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles.
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