Together the US and the EU command over half of global seafood imports and both have control over significant fishing fleets. Joint EU-US action against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing can make a real difference.
Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, signed the agreement on 7 September on behalf of the EU and said IUU fishing is a criminal activity, and we have the duty to make everything possible to stop this practice ... By joining forces, we make it harder for culprits to get away with their dirty business."
WWF Senior Fellow David Schorr added: The joint statement is a good step on an important issue. Consumers in the US and Europe want to be sure the seafood they eat is legally and sustainably caught. The joint statement - if followed with real action - will make the US and EU strong partners in the fight against the scourge of illegal fishing.
Noting the need to translate promises into results, WWF called on the EU and US to immediately form an active working group for implementing the joint statement, and to set clear deadlines for action.
There is a lot of work yet to be done, said Mr Schorr. We are very hopeful that the statement will quickly lead to bold action to halt pirate fishing and end trade in illegally caught seafood products.
Both the US and EU participate in international fishery management organisations and promote international methods to address IUU fishing.
The new agreement calls for both the US and EU to cooperate on areas including:
- Developing a system to exchange information on IUU activities
- Promoting management measures at regional fishery management organisations that strengthen the control, monitoring and enforcement of vessels operational within certain areas
- Encouraging other countries to ratify and implement the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations Committee on Fisheries Port State Measures Agreement
- Promoting the sustainable use of fisheries resources while preserving marine biodiversity
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