I am proud to be with all of you today and share the ambitious set of announcements the United States has made this week that will help make global fisheries sustainable and combat IUU fishing.
Too often, fisheries and aquaculture are treated as environmental issues – this is a security issue. But too often, food security is framed only in terms of agriculture.
But we know the main reason people depend on fisheries: because it’s food, keeping us alive.
That is why in this, the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, the United State endorsed the Aquatic/Blue Food Coalition.
The Coalition will bring blue foods to the forefront of our efforts to achieve food security. It will help advance a blue foods transformation that will secure livelihoods, improve community resilience, ensure food security, and address gender equity.
Still, there are too many bad actors operating outside of the rules. One third of fish stocks are overfished and 1 in 5 fish caught globally originates from illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing.
IUU fishing is hurting our ocean, our people, and our planet. It jeopardizes our environment, rule of law, and our maritime security. To tackle this multifaceted problem, we need a multifaceted approach.
That is why the United States is proud to see WTO Members have taken a positive step forward to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies, establishing the first-ever multilateral trade agreement with environment at its core. And as the WTO negotiations continue, we will continue to pursue more ambitious fisheries subsidies disciplines.
This week, President Biden recently signed a new National Security Memorandum, setting out a comprehensive framework for how the U.S. government will use the full range of existing conservation, labor, trade, economic, diplomatic, law enforcement, and national security authorities to tackle IUU fishing and its associated criminal activities, such as the use of forced labor.
But we cannot solve this crisis alone – because this is a global problem. Together with Canada and the UK we launched the IUU Fishing Action Alliance this week. We urge you to join us.
Those who join the Alliance pledge to take urgent action in three areas: (1) to improve the monitoring, control, and surveillance of fisheries; (2) increase transparency in fishing fleets and in the seafood market; and (3) build new partnerships to close the net on bad actors. We hope many of you will join us!
With countries, organizations, and other stakeholders working together, we will increase ambition, momentum, and, most importantly, action in the fight against IUU fishing. And we will ensure sustainable fisheries, and a healthy ocean, for generations to come.