CCA Testifies Before Congress against Fish Pirates

Remarks focus on need for market controls to combat IUU fishing

Posted on April 23, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC – CCA General Counsel Robert G. Hayes testified before the House Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans today, and called on Congress to initiate agreements to control the international markets for seafood to put an end to IUU fishing.

“There are three distinct areas that need better compliance,” said Hayes. “First, is the continued problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  Second, is the need for regional fishery management organizations to enforce rules against their own members, and third is the need for transparency in the national implementation of adopted conservation measures, such as those that the shark-fining bill addresses.”
Hayes urged Congress to initiate international measures for those three scenarios that are enforceable through the imposition of trade measures, including the embargo of all related fishery products from the offending country. 
“The US must consider the failure of any member country to impose trade measures as an IUU act,” he said. “We as a country have to take these violations seriously and act on them.”
International fisheries measures now in place depend on the integrity of the nation states to implement them and not every nation has the same view of its obligation as the United States. Hayes encouraged Congress to pass legislation that requires the State Department to verify the implementation of every regional fishery management organization (RFMO) measure by member states. If a member fails to do so, the U.S. could identify the country and eventually impose market measures.
“All of this may sound daunting, but it is the process now in place,” Hayes said. “If Congress wants to make the system work, there must be legislation requiring the U.S. to initiate an international agreement for market controls to ensure compliance with RFMO measures. We have had similar agreements for textiles, coffee and listed species. The application of market controls produces discipline in the exploitation of natural resources. The problems facing our fisheries are more acute and right off our coast, and CCA believes the time has come to take a more proactive approach.”
CONTACT: Ted Venker, 1-800-201-FISH