Monterey Bay Aquarium Statement on Action Plan Released by President Obama's IUU Task Force

Mar 16, 2015

Seafood Watch
Conservation & Science

In response to the action plan released by the Presidential Task Force on Combating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud, the Monterey Bay Aquarium issued the following statement from Margaret Spring, vice president of conservation and science and chief conservation officer:

“The Presidential Task Force’s plan takes a bold step forward in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing - a practice that threatens the long-term health and sustainability of global fisheries and ocean resources, and disadvantages U.S. fishermen and seafood businesses that are setting the bar for sustainability performance.

“The Monterey Bay Aquarium commends the President’s Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud and the Co-Chairs, Under Secretary Kathryn Sullivan and Under Secretary Catherine Novelli, who developed a thorough set of recommendations and a clear pathway for strengthening U.S. leadership against IUU fishing. We strongly support the Task Force’s intention to establish a robust traceability program for all seafood products that assures a level of certainty that businesses and consumers demand to ensure their seafood is legal and free of fraud. In addition, the implementation plan outlined other key steps to fighting IUU fishing globally, including securing enactment of the Port State Measures Agreement, advancing best practices for Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, and expanding collaboration with state and local enforcement officials.

“Markets play a critical role in driving illegal fishing and trafficking in depleted marine species, such as bluefin tuna and sharks. We applaud the Task Force’s intent to include provisions to effectively enforce environmental laws and address IUU fishing through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other pending and future trade agreements. Taken with the other actions in the implementation plan, particularly the development of a comprehensive traceability program, we anticipate that these measures will help buyers and consumers more easily identify and reward top performers, including U.S. fisheries that lead the world in sustainable practices (see

“The Monterey Bay Aquarium is ready to work with members of the President’s Task Force and National Ocean Council, the seafood industry, the conservation community and other stakeholders to advance the implementation plan as quickly as possible. The problems associated with IUU fishing and seafood fraud are global in nature and the Administration should harness the expertise and experience of the private sector and other stakeholders who are already working towards meaningful change in the global seafood marketplace. It is also imperative for the U.S. to increase collaboration and coordination with other seafood nations to ensure that U.S. actions are part of a global strategy for legal and sustainable management of the world’s ocean resources."

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