BATTLING ILLEGAL FISHING

TBFIllegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) is a serious problem for fish populations around the world. Thankfully, a new joint effort between the fishery managements of the United States and the European Union hopes to put a stop to this devastating practice.

A signing agreement took place on Wednesday, Sept. 7, in Washington D.C. with Dr. Jane Lubchenco, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and the head of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Ms. Maria Damanaki, European Union commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Ellen Peel, the president of The Billfish Foundation, said that fishing piracy across the globe costs 500,000 fishermen their jobs and income, and $23 billion worth of seafood annually plus un-measurable harm on the environment and health of the oceans.

"And for a countless number of recreational fishing opportunities it's a huge loss," said Peel. "IUU fishing impacts all US fishing interests, recreational and commercial, for these international fishing pirates are exerting enormous pressure on the stocks of highly migratory fish — tunas, billfish and sharks — accelerating overfishing. This means less is available to support the legitimate industries that are regulated and fish by the rules."

Peel, who is also the U.S. Recreational Fishing Commissioner to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). ICCAT is the international fishery management organization formed by a multilateral treaty that manages highly migratory fish throughout the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea and all adjacent waters.

The next ICCAT negotiations will be held in Istanbul, Turkey in November. Peel will be one of the three U.S. Commissioners representing US fishing interests for these species.

For more information about The Billfish Foundation visit www.billfish.org.