United States and European Union Pledge to Combat Pirate Fishing

On September 7, 2011, a bilateral cooperation agreement on combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing was signed by Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, and Maria Damanaki, European Union Commissioner for Marine Affairs and Fisheries. The agreement was signed before representatives of the European Union and the United States, including Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), and Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), in a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, an event supported by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, through its partnership with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

This historic pledge will unite the world’s first (Europe) and third (U.S.) largest seafood importers in bringing illegal fishing practices to an end—practices which put honest fisherman at a disadvantage in the global marketplace, irreparably damage important ecosystems and habitats, and put one of the world’s largest food resources at risk.

While both the U.S. and European Union have already put measures in place individually to combat IUU fishing, the pledge commits the two governments to cooperate to combat illegal fishing, strengthen monitoring and enforcement of management measures, and prevent those engaged in pirate fishing from benefiting from their activities. The entire text of the statement can be found at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/iuu/docs/statement_online_handout.pdf.

In her remarks, Dr. Lubchenco stated, “Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is a global problem and international cooperation is critical to combating these activities.” Maria Damanaki echoed the sentiments of her American counterpart: “IUU fishing is a criminal activity, and we have the duty to do everything possible to stop this practice.”

For more information on IUU fishing and the historic agreement between the European Union and the United States, please see NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/iuu/.

Photo: Maria Damanaki, European Union Commissioner for Marine Affairs and Fisheries (left) and Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator (right) sign a bilateral cooperation agreement on combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing on September 7, 2011 in a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

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