Industry News

More from Our Ocean 2015: Combating Illegal Fishing

More than 2.5 billion people worldwide depend on fish for food and nutrition. In the U.S. alone, Americans consumed 4.6 billion pounds of seafood in 2013. The following new initiatives, highlighted during the 2015 Our Ocean Conference in Chile, are aimed at combatting Illegal Fishing.

Sea Scout Launch.
During the Our Ocean 2015 conference, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Administration is launching Sea Scout, which aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of at-sea enforcement through the identification of regional “hot spots” – where IUU fishing is known to be most severe or to pose the most significant threat – to ensure that at-sea enforcement assets are directed and deployed in the most efficient manner.

The new global initiative will unite governments and stakeholders worldwide in the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by focusing global assets and partnerships on identifying, interdicting, and prosecuting IUU fishing organizations and networks around the world. Sea Scout will strengthen at-sea fisheries enforcement through integration of existing and emerging technologies, expanded use of internet-based tools, enhanced coordination and information sharing, and capacity building.

New Tools to Target Illegal Fishing.
NOAA is also announcing new steps to provide data, tools, and technical assistance to target illegal fishing. This includes the further development and availability of an application to assist in detecting ocean-going vessels using the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) a space-based sensor. VIIRS is capable of detecting lights, including from boats that use lights to attract fishery catch at night, in order to target potentially illegal activities for further inspection by other assets. In 2016, the detection system and alert services will be implemented in Indonesia, the Philippines, and three other countries. In the following years, future partnerships will build capacity in other countries—bringing online another tool in our data product toolbox to help increase global marine domain awareness.
 
 
Combatting IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud.
Earlier this year, NOAA and the State Department unveiled the final action plan of the President’s Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud. The plan lays out aggressive next steps for implementing the recommendations issued by the Task Force in December 2014, and includes measures to create and expand domestic partnerships to detect illegal fishing and seafood fraud, strengthen enforcement, and develop a traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into U.S. commerce, beginning with the species most at risk for trafficking or fraud. The plan also outlines how the U.S. will work with international partners to address IUU fishing and seafood fraud, including through the Administration’s work to secure historic and enforceable environmental provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
 
 

The United States will host the Our Ocean conference in 2016.

For more information, click here.

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