Feds Will Crack Down on Illegal Fishing Practices, Says Obama

Environmentally conscious chefs have been saying it for years: We need to stop illegal fishing practices.

Have you noticed an uptick in restaurants specifically serving sustainable seafood? The restaurant industry has been attempting to reverse a current unsettling seafood trend: Approximately one in three fish imported into the United States could be illegal, according to a study published in Science Direct in spring 2014. And now the government wants to address this issue. A new presidential task force against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, implemented by President Obama, has announced a crackdown on illegal fishing practices.

In a new action plan, the task force will set about strengthening international relationships to corner bad seafood practices, create a traceability program that will be able to track every fish from harvest to entry into U.S. commerce, and double down on identifying and protecting at-risk seafood species like the bluefin tuna. The United States is seeking similar commitments to seafood fraud crackdowns from at least 14 other countries, asking them to sign a Port State Measures Agreement.


“Illegal fishing and seafood fraud affect the American public and people around the world,” said State Department Undersecretary Cathy Novelli in a statement. “The plan we are releasing today puts us on course to tackle these complex global challenges, with a new traceability program at its heart.  It also gives new urgency to our work towards the strongest possible international tools — including ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement, which will ensure illegal fish cannot reach the global market. We are working closely with our partners in the United States and around the world to bring the full range of resources to the table.”