FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kate Naughten
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking public comment on a draft international plan of action developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to address illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing an increasingly serious international problem that is undermining efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in all fisheries.
International fishery experts believe that illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing also may lead to the collapse of certain fisheries and may seriously impair efforts to rebuild stocks that have already been depleted by overharvesting, loss of habitat or pollution. The public comments received by NOAA Fisheries will be considered in developing a U.S. position on the draft plan.
"NOAA Fisheries is a strong advocate for the Food and Agriculture Organization's efforts to deal with this issue," said Penny Dalton, the director of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. "Without agreement by the international fisheries community on the importance of global action to address illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, regional and national efforts to manage fisheries resources can never be fully effective."
A panel of experts, convened in Australia by the Food and Agriculture Organization in May 2000, defined illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing as:
The overall objective of the international plan of action is the voluntary implementation of comprehensive, effective and transparent actions by member countries to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing within two years of adoption by the council.
Some of the proposals being discussed to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing are measures by member countries to:
The U.S. position on the draft plan is being developed collaboratively by NOAA Fisheries, the Department of State, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Customs Service and the Coast Guard. NOAA is coordinating the activities of the interagency team.
The draft plan will receive a technical
review by Food and Agriculture Organization member countries
at a meeting in Rome in October, 2000.
Written comments should be sent to Robin Tuttle, c/o NOAA/NMFS Office of Science & Technology, 1315 East-West Hwy., Silver Spring, Md., 20910, or faxed to (301) 713-4057. The deadline for written comments is 5 p.m. on August 5, 2000. The draft plan is available at: http://www.affa.gov.au/ecoiuuf/, click on "Report of the Expert Consultation" or by calling (301) 713-2282 ext. 199.