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EU and US join forces to combat IUU fishing

EU and US join forces to combat IUU fishing

It is currently estimated that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices are worth around 10 billion Euros each year – a shocking 19% of the value of catches worldwide. The EU and the US are both concerned about the disastrous environmental and socio-economic impacts of this illegal fishing activity and have each introduced their own legal measures. However, IUU fishing is a trans-boundary issue. The regular and coordinated exchange of information and practical tools is therefore essential for tackling IUU activity in the north Atlantic and beyond.

The need to join cooperative forces on managing IUU fishing activity in the north Atlantic was put forward as a key policy recommendation by EU and US ocean experts in April 2011 as part of the Ecologic Institute-led CALAMAR dialogue. The experts also highlighted the need for strong synergies in IUU information systems to facilitate exchange of data on illegal activities.

The CALAMAR recommendations have recently been bolstered by the signing of a new EU-US statement in Washington D.C. in September 2011. The EU and US made a bilateral pledge to cooperate in their efforts to combat IUU fishing and to strengthen international fisheries management. The agreement also includes a system for exchanging information on IUU activities and a commitment to cooperate on monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS).

The joint statement is the first of its kind in EU-US fisheries management and was signed in Washington D.C. by Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and Dr Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"IUU fishing is a criminal activity, and we have the duty to make everything possible to stop this practice," said Commissioner Damanaki. "Today's agreement will do just that. By joining forces, we make it harder for culprits to get away with their dirty business."

"Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is one of the most serious threats to sustainable fishing and to marine biodiversity in the world’s oceans," said Dr Lubchenco, who is also under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. "International cooperation across oceans will help us strengthen enforcement and prevent legal fishing industries from being undermined in the global marketplace by illegal fishing."

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Keywords: fishing, illegal fishing, IUU,overfishing, sustainable fishing, ocean governance, marine policy, transatlantic relations, sustainability, EU research, workshop, EU, European Union, US