Every time wild-caught fish is bought at a restaurant, store or waterfront dock, there is a one in five chance that it was caught outside of the law, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated - IUU - fishing is a growing issue worldwide. The global, economic and environmental effects are catastrophic, with coastlines around Latin America being some of the most impacted.
Recently during a telephonic press briefing, United States Coast Guard Vice Admiral Steven Poulin spoke on the urgency of the matter and the role the Coast Guard is playing in addressing this problem.
“IUU fishing undermines coastal state sovereignty,” Poulin said. “We in the Coast Guard are putting our strategies to address this problem into action.”
Southern Command is also making IUU fishing one of its priorities. At the IUU Fishing Conference on Feb. 3, Southern Command and other key groups emphasized the need for international cooperation, collaboration, leveraged technology, and transparency. Hosted by FIU’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, the conference reached more than 3,000 viewers from more than 49 countries.
Experts and global leaders from United States Southern Command, Interpol, NLA International, NOAA Fisheries, the Pew Charitable Trusts, Global Fish Watch and others discussed the way ahead.
Throughout the conference’s three panels, speakers highlighted the need to analyze big data, collaborate among key industry partners, enhance domain awareness, and use technology to coordinate efforts.
The conference concluded with remarks from Jean Manes, Southern Command civilian deputy to the commander and foreign policy advisor who formerly served as ambassador to El Salvador.
“In [my] 28 years of working on foreign policy issues of every type, there are moments in history where you have the right people at the right moment to really put the foot on the gas pedal and make a lot of progress on an issue in a short amount of time,” Manes said. “I see this as that moment... We have an opportunity to move out on IUU fishing.”