On January 12, 2011, NOAA submitted a report to Congress identifying six nations whose fishing vessels engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2009 and/or 2010.
The list includes Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Panama, Portugal, and Venezuela.
According to NOAA, the action opens the way for continued consultations between the U.S. government and each of the nations to encourage them to take action to stop IUU fishing by their vessels.
In this report, NOAA also announced that the six previously identified nations (China, France, Italy, Libya, Panama, and Tunisia) have addressed instances of illegal fishing described by the United States in the 2009 report to Congress. These nations applied penalties to the vessels in question or adopted laws to strengthen control of their fishing fleets or both. Each has received a positive certification as a result of their actions.
The nations identified in the report had fishing vessels that did not comply with measures agreed to under various international fishery management organizations, such as closed fishing seasons, vessel registry lists, and a ban on the use of driftnets. Other violations included illegal gear modifications, fishing without authorization, and possession of undersized bluefin tuna.
Although Italy and Panama took corrective actions for illegal fishing identified in the 2009 report, other vessels from these countries still engaged in IUU fishing, which included illegal use of driftnets and fishing in an area when it was closed to purse seine nets.
If a nation fails to take appropriate action to address the instances of illegal fishing described in the report, that nation’s vessels may be denied entry into U.S. ports and the President may prohibit imports of certain fish products from that nation or take other measures.
According to NOAA, Annual global economic losses due to IUU fishing are estimated to be as high as $23 billion.
source: NOAA press release