Monterey Bay Aquarium Commends Congress for Funding Key NOAA Programs to Address Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing

Mar 30, 2018

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Rush escorts the suspected high seas drift net fishing vessel Da Cheng in the North Pacific Ocean on August 14, 2012. (Credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

Statement of Margaret Spring, chief conservation officer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, regarding Congressional approval of FY 2018 appropriations for key fisheries management programs:

“Congress made it clear that ocean conservation remains a priority with recent enactment of an appropriations measure  with funding for key federal ocean programs within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),” said Margaret Spring, Chief Conservation Officer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. “The ocean is so important to our U.S. economy, businesses, coastal communities and consumers, and there are many federal programs that help ensure we can continue to benefit from a healthy ocean for years to come.”

Spring noted that this year’s appropriations bill “included funding for an important new program that will help keep our markets free of seafood caught through illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program started just this year, and Congress delivered much-needed funding so it can be implemented appropriately and effectively. This is a huge victory for all U.S. businesses, coastal communities, fishermen and consumers- everyone who produces and enjoys seafood. It will encourage sustainable fisheries management globally.”

“It is notable that the bill also includes directions to include shrimp within the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program,” Spring added. “The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been a strong proponent of including shrimp in this program given its importance to the U.S. market and the improvements that are needed to create more transparency and accountability within the global seafood supply chain. Shrimp will be part of this program by the end of 2018, and we look forward to working with NOAA and the seafood industry to ensure strong implementation.”

“We are grateful for the leadership and support of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, including the two retiring Chairmen, Senator Thad Cochran and Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, especially in addressing IUU fishing,” she added. “We owe particular thanks to the leadership of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittees, including Chairman Richard Shelby, Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen, and our own California Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Subcommittee, as well as to House Chairman John Culberson and Ranking Member Jose Serrano.

“We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that the U.S. continues to be a global leader in the fight against IUU fishing, and to protecting U.S. consumers, businesses, our coastal communities and the long-term sustainability of our ocean.”

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The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean.