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Weekly Overview: US Oysters, Mussels Found to Have Low Levels of Disease, Parasites

Lucy Towers
10 February 2015, at 12:00am

ANALYSIS - A new study from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found the occurrence and severity of disease and parasite infections in oysters and mussels to be generally low between 1995 and 2009, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

“The unprecedented baseline data in this new report will be vital for coastal managers as they look at degrading conditions in mussel and oyster population,” said Dennis Apeti, the report’s lead author and an oceanographer with the National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. 

New guidance has been issued to the UK industry on how to ensure that illegal fish is kept out of supply chains. 

In a detailed joint ‘Advisory Note’, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and WWF-UK inform UK industry, retailers and brands of the risks associated with Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) or 'pirate' fishing, the global annual cost of which is estimated to be as much as $23.5 billion.

The guide offers expert advice on risk assessment and risk mitigation, and encourages action to prevent IUU fishery products entering UK supply chains, which is costly on a number of levels.

The US is also continuing its global leadership to address illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing as a biennial report from NOAA identifies six nations that are undermining international efforts to sustainably manage and rebuild fisheries.

NOAA's 2015 biennial report to Congress on IUU fishing identified Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Nigeria, Nicaragua, and Portugal as engaging in the practice. 

“Protecting our country’s reputation as a leader in sustainable fishing is at the heart of the President’s efforts to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud around the world,” said Dr Kathryn Sullivan, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and NOAA administrator.

An FAO grant, worth $75,000, will fund a one year project that aims to assess the value and management potential of shrimp and groundfish stocks and fisheries of the Guianas-Brazil Shelf, in order to enable sustainable investments in ecosystem-based management of these marine resources.

At present, a number of shrimp and groundfish stocks in the region are fully exploited and at the risk of being overexploited. Fisheries technologies currently applied also include unsustainable practices that are detrimental for aquatic habitats and put the lives of fishermen at risk.