WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today were joined by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in introducing a bipartisan resolution underscoring the threats posed by illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing to security, prosperity, and biodiversity in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Unveiled as Panama convenes the 2023 Our Oceans Conference, the resolution calls for strengthened U.S. efforts to counter IUU fishing in the Western Hemisphere, including by conducting joint Coast Guard and U.S. Southern Command operations, bolstering the capacity of regional governments and fishery management organizations to monitor and prosecute IUU fishing, and issuing sanctions and visa restrictions against perpetrators, particularly those subsidized by the People’s Republic of China.
“Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing undermines U.S. interests by threatening the security, prosperity, and biodiversity of our Hemisphere. This resolution highlights the irresponsible actions of China’s state-subsidized fishing fleet as the main force behind these transnational criminal activities,” said Ranking Member Risch. “We must urgently work with like-minded democratic partners in Latin America and the Caribbean to combat this illegal practice. Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina should also join the United States and accede to the Post State Measures Agreement.”
“By endangering biodiversity, jeopardizing food security, threatening fishing communities’ livelihoods, and enabling transnational organized crime, IUU fishing poses one of the greatest challenges to marine ecosystems and maritime security today,” said Chairman Menendez. “Against the backdrop of the PRC’s expanded support for IUU fishing operations – and the proliferation of such activities in our hemisphere – our bipartisan resolution serves as a call to advance the multilateral cooperation and accountability frameworks necessary to combat this challenge. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to secure our resolution’s passage, and to ensure the security and health of our region’s marine environments.”
“Ill-gotten goods have no place in the global seafood supply chain,” said Senator Cardin. “Ending IUU fishing would protect workers and ensure all seafood sold in the United States is safe, legally caught, and responsibly sourced.”
“Illegal fishing and related crimes like human trafficking in Latin America and the Caribbean, often perpetrated with the support of the Chinese Communist Party, threaten our collective regional security, economies, and biodiversity. It’s important that the United States works together with our partners in the region to counter China and transnational criminal groups and address these destructive practices,” said Senator Kaine.
Text of the legislation can be found here.