NOAA Report Cites IUU, Forced Labor, Shark Catch Issues

NOAA’s 2023 Report to Congress on Improving International Fisheries Management identifies seven nations and entities engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU), including incidents involving force labor and targeted or incidental shark catches.

The report, released Aug. 31, said the U.S. will work with identified parties to address IUU issues and forced labor activities and support effective management of protected species and shark catch.

“IUU fishing and other unsustainable fishing practices undermine U.S. and global efforts to sustainably manage fisheries and conserve marine resources,” Janet Coit, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said. “Combating these practices is a top priority of the United States, and we’ll work with each identified nation and entity to remedy these activities and strengthen their fisheries management and enforcement practices.”

IUU fishing is a serious global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries that are critical to global food and economic security — putting law-abiding fishermen and seafood producers in the United States and abroad at a disadvantage. There are also growing concerns regarding the exploitation of shark stocks in international fisheries.

This is the first time that as part of this report, NOAA Fisheries identified nations for shark catch. It’s also the first time the agency considered forced labor in the seafood sector when making IUU fishing identifications.

Angola, Grenada, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Gambia and Vanuatu were identified for alleged IUU fishing in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The IUU fishing identifications for China and Taiwan include information related to the production of seafood-related goods through forced labor. China and Vanuatu were identified for shark catch without a comparable regulatory program to that of the United States.

The full report is online at