New Recommendations to End Pirate Fishing and Seafood Fraud
America’s fisheries drive coastal economies and put food on the tables of families across the country. Unfortunately, the twin global issues of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud undermine the economic and environmental sustainability of fisheries and fish stocks.
Global losses attributable to IUU fishing are estimated at $10 billion to $23 billion annually. Pirate fishing vessels take in fish without regard to the sustainability of ocean ecosystems. Not required to file trip plans or carry transponders, the ships roam the oceans in the shadows and become vectors for human, drug, and arms trafficking. Black-market fishing distorts legal markets and displaces law-abiding fishermen, ultimately serving as a drag on the global economy. These challenges can be compounded by seafood fraud — the mislabeling, misbranding, or falsification of product origins — which can occur at any point in the supply chain.
Today, the federal task force on combatting IUU fishing and seafood fraud released its final recommendations to tackle these complex challenges. President Obama announced the creation of the task force at the State Department’s Our Ocean conference in June, and for the last six months, under the leadership of NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan and Under Secretary of State Cathy Novelli, representatives from 14 agencies have come together to answer the President’s call to action.
The 15 recommendations being released by the task force today will:
- Combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud at the international level by directing agencies to identify specific diplomatic, development assistance, and trade-related actions
- Strengthen enforcement and enhance enforcement tools to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud by improving resource and information sharing and supporting risk-based targeting of illicit seafood shipments
- Create and expand partnerships with state and local governments, industry, and non-governmental organizations to identify and eliminate seafood fraud and IUU seafood in U.S. commerce
- Create a risk-based traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into the U.S. commerce to prevent entry of illegal product into the supply chain and better inform retailers and consumers.
- NOAA’s IUU overview and frequently asked questions pages
- NOAA’s FishWatch: U.S. Seafood Facts, Identifying Seafood Fraud, Combating Seafood Fraud
- Presidential Task Force releases action plan to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and seafood fraud
Published on Dec 16, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama designated the pristine waters of Bristol Bay as off limits to consideration for oil and gas leasing. This action safeguards one of the nation’s most productive fisheries and preserves an ecologically rich area of the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska that is vital to the commercial fishing and tourism economy and to Alaska Native communities.
Bristol Bay is at the heart one of the world’s most valuable fisheries, helping to provide 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood and support a $2 billion annual fishing industry. The beautiful and remote area is also an economic engine for tourism in Alaska, driving $100 million in recreational fishing and tourism activity every year. Bristol Bay hosts the largest runs of wild sockeye salmon in the world, and provides important habitat for many species, including the threatened Stellar’s eider, sea otters, seals, walruses, Beluga and Killer whales, and the endangered North Pacific Right Whale.
Today’s decision to withdraw the area from all future oil and gas leasing extends indefinitely a temporary withdrawal that President Obama issued in 2010 and was set to expire in 2017. This action builds on decades of local efforts to protect Bristol Bay from oil and gas development by Alaska Native tribes and organizations, as well as local seafood and tourism businesses that create jobs and strengthen Alaska and the nation’s economy. It also honors the legacy of Alaska residents like Harold ‘Harvey’ Samuelsen, a salmon fisherman who is legendary for his lifelong dedication to Bristol Bay and to creating economic opportunities for Alaska Native and rural communities.
5 Things You Need to Know About Alaska’s Bristol Bay
Tanya Somanader December 16, 2014 05:12 PM EST
1. BRISTOL BAY PROVIDES 40 PERCENT OF AMERICA’S WILD-CAUGHT SEAFOOD.
Bristol Bay is one of the world’s most valuable fisheries, providing 40 percent of America’s seafood and supporting up to $2 billion in commercial fishing every year.
2. BRISTOL BAY HOSTS ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST WILD SALMON RUNS.
While remote, this area is also an economic engine for tourism in Alaska. Bristol Bay drives $100 million in recreational fishing and tourism activity every year.
3. BRISTOL BAY IS HOME TO MULTIPLE THREATENED SPECIES.
Bristol Bay provides important habitat for many species, including the threatened Stellar’s eider, sea otters, seals, walruses, Beluga and Killer whales, and the endangered North Pacific Right Whale.
4. THE PRESIDENT’S ACTION PROTECTS MILLIONS OF ACRES FROM DRILLING.
The North Aleutian Basin Planning Area that includes Bristol Bay consists of about 32.5 million acres. The previous Administration set in motion a new lease sale for 2011 that would have opened approximately 5.6 million acres — about one-fifth of the planning area — for drilling. In 2010, President Obama temporarily withdrew the Bristol Bay area from oil and gas development, and today’s action extends that protection indefinitely.
5. PRESIDENT OBAMA IS NOT THE ONLY PRESIDENT TO USE HIS EXECUTIVE AUTHORITY TO PROTECT LANDS.
The President issues his temporary withdrawal in 2010 using his authority under section 12 of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, which gives the president authority to withdraw offshore areas from potential oil and gas leasing. President Eisenhower was the first to exercise the authority in 1960, withdrawing an area now included in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Since then, presidents on both sides of the aisle have acted to withdraw areas of the Outer Continental Shelf from oil and gas leasing.
Reaction to President Obama’s Presidential Memorandum
President Obama Calls on Congress to Protect Arctic Refuge as Wilderness
John Podesta, Mike Boots January 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST
Each year, as the darkness of the Arctic winter brightens into spring, as the snow melts and the hills and valleys slowly turn green, the tens of thousands of members of the Porcupine caribou herd begin their great migration — traveling some 1,500 miles through Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to their calving grounds on the Coastal Plain.
This far northern region is known as “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” to Alaska Native communities. The Refuge sustains the most diverse array of wildlife in the entire Arctic — home not only to the Porcupine caribou, but to polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. Bird species from the Coastal Plain migrate to all 50 states of the country — meaning that no matter where you live, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is part of your landscape.
But the majority of the Refuge is not protected as wilderness, including the Coastal Plain. For more than three decades, some voices have clamored to drill for oil in the Coastal Plain — a move that could irreparably damage this ecological treasure and harm the Alaska Native communities who still depend on the caribou for subsistence.
Today, the Department of the Interior released a revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan to better sustain and manage the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and President Obama took it a step further and announced his plans to ask Congress to designate the Coastal Plain and other core areas of the refuge as wilderness:
- 1/21/15 Promoting Science-Based Stewardship, Security, and Opportunity in the Arctic Region
- 3/27/15 White House Releases Implementation Report on National Strategy for the Arctic
- 8/13/15 Ambassador Mark Brzezinski Appointed Executive Director of the Arctic Executive Steering Committee
- 11/30/15 President Obama Answers 6 Questions on Climate Change
- 12/17/15 President Obama, Joining Bear Grylls, Tests Survival Skills in Alaska
- 1/26/16 Coordinating U.S. Actions to Address Arctic Challenges: The Arctic Executive Steering Committee’s First Year
- 1/30/16 Ambassador to the Arctic: Meet President Obama’s Point Man for Alaska
- 3/10/16 U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership
- 5/13/16 U.S.-Nordic Leaders’ Summit Joint Statement
- 5/13/16 FACT SHEET: U.S.-Nordic Collaboration on Climate Change, the Arctic, and Clean Energy
- 9/28/16 FACT SHEET: United States Hosts First-Ever Arctic Science Ministerial to Advance International Research Efforts
- 11/18/16 Obama Administration Bans Arctic Ocean from Offshore Oil Drilling Through 2022
- 12/9/16 Executive Order — Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience
- 12/9/16 FACT SHEET: White House Announces Actions to Protect Natural and Cultural Resources in Alaskan Arctic Ocean
- 12/16/16 President Obama signs the Ensuring Access to Pacific Fisheries Act