Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) is a substantial threat to global food security and a recurring problem for global fishery managers already facing difficult baseline situations exacerbated by climate change, including warming oceans and increasing acidification. There is nothing historically new about IUU fishing; there have always been poachers who take advantage of operating in the shadows of legal commercial fishing. What is new is the extent to which marine poaching has industrialized. It is estimated that 19% of the worldwide value of marine catches are unlawful. The problem is not limited to developing states. For example, even though the United States, through the work of the U.S. Coast Guard, has been actively combatting IUU fishing for decades, all is not well at U.S. ports. A 2014 study found that up to 32% of wild-caught seafood, including shrimp, crab, salmon, pollock, and tuna, imported into the United States may be illegally harvested. While the United States has adequate access to protein resources, many other countries, such as Sierra Leone, whose populations depend upon fish as a primary protein source, face tremendous challenges with combatting IUU fishing. As global populations increase, but critical food resources decrease, it is evident there is a critical need to “re-tool” the food system to eliminate the pressures of IUU fishing.
Anastasia Telesetsky, Scuttling IUU Fishing and Rewarding Sustainable Fishing: Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Port State Measures Agreement with Trade-Related Measures, 38 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 1237 (2015).
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