Coast Guard Has New Plan For Combatting IUU Fishing

 U.S. Coast Guard leadership
has released a new strategy for combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated
fishing, a global problem both on the high seas and in areas of national
jurisdiction. Admiral Karl L. Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard, said that
as a recognized world leader in maritime safety, security and environmental
stewardship the Coast Guard has a responsibility to help build a coalition of
partners willing to identify and address IUU fishing bad actors and model
responsible global maritime behavior.

The Coast Guard is committed
to leading an international effort with America’s allies to combat illegal
exploitation of fish stocks in the oceans and to protect national interests.

The Coast Guard’s newly
released IUU strategic outlook notes that not all maritime nations have the
capability to surveil their sovereign waters or the moral conscience to police
their fleets, thus creating opportunities for exploitation through illegal,
unreported and unregulated fishing.  This
exploitation the Coast Guard report said, “erodes both regional and national
security, undermines maritime rules-based order, jeopardizes food access and
availability and destroys legitimate economies.”

The global impacts of IUU
fishing include the loss of revenue in the billions of dollars, undermining of
stock management, and the loss of valuable protein sources to people in nearly
half of the world’s population on seafood for 20 percent of their animal

The Coast Guard also cited
data noting that 80 percent of fish eaten in the U.S. are imported and without
effective traceability and monitoring, illegally caught fish around the world
enter U.S. markets. 

Today’s fish stocks are
under stress not only from growing consumption demand and changing ecosystems,
but from deliberate efforts to exploit gaps in existing governance structures,
the NOAA report said. Illegal transshipments, heavy-subsidized distant water
fishing, and nations who choose to systematically engage in IUU fishing amplify
these stressors and catalyze additional criminal activity which further
undermines maritime rules-based order.

The full Coast Guard report is online at