On September 7, 2011, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and Maria Damanaki, European Union commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, signed a statement pledging bilateral cooperation to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, known as IUU fishing—a first for the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and the E.U. on fisheries management.
The European Union and United States rank first and third, respectively, as the world’s top seafood importers. Globally, illegal fishing deprives legal fishermen and coastal communities of up to $23 billion of seafood and seafood products annually.
In the statement, the U.S. and the E.U. make it clear that they are committed to cooperating on combating IUU fishing as the only effective way of ending these practices. Among other things, they agree to work together to support the adoption of effective management measures in regional and international organizations to combat IUU fishing; promote tools that prevent IUU operators from benefiting economically from their illegal activities; exchange information on IUU activities; and promote the sustainable use of fisheries resources while preserving marine biodiversity.