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A Message from Sam Rauch, Head of NOAA Fisheries

July 8, 2013

Strong Alliances, Hard Work Leads to Recent Milestones for Fisheries Globally

This month I wish to highlight some of the international work we do to help us meet our science-based conservation and management mission. The United States is a global leader in sustainable fisheries and marine stewardship, but we cannot do it alone. Successful management and conservation of our global ocean and its transboundary resources can only be achieved through international cooperation. We work internationally to promote the successful strategies and innovations that are working at home to end overfishing, recover protected species, and protect biodiversity. We achieve this by working with other nations directly and through various regional and global organizations.

So far, 2013 has been a milestone year for our international work. In January we identified 10 nations engaged in apparent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and have begun consultation with these nations to encourage them to take the necessary corrective actions. Since over 90% of the U.S. seafood supply is imported, addressing IUU fishing globally is a top priority.

In March, NOAA Fisheries played a key leadership role in developing and advancing an international agreement to increase protection for five commercially-exploited shark species by listing them under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as CITES. That was a truly historic moment for global shark conservation.

And, last month at the annual Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission meeting, countries agreed to extend the current conservation and management measures for tropical tunas for three years to ensure the sustainable harvest of these stocks. The Commission also adopted a U.S.-led proposal on fish aggregating devices, also called FADs, in tuna fisheries to better understand the impact of FAD fishing on tuna stocks and bycatch. I am also pleased to report that OSPESCA, a wider Caribbean regional fishery intergovernmental organization we have worked closely with for many years, particularly to improve the conservation and management of queen conch and spiny lobster, recently received an award by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for its significant contribution to sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development.

Looking ahead, this month the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica is in the international spotlight. In mid-July members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources will have the opportunity to protect one of the most pristine and unique marine environments on earth, the Ross Sea. Protecting the Ross Sea Region for its biodiversity and scientific value is a top priority for the United States. Later this month we will also feature some of the important international research we work on to help conserve and sustainably manage our shared global marine resources. Stay tuned for more international news this month.

Come back and visit our website and follow us on Facebook and Twitter this month so you can find more features about recent milestones for fisheries globally. 

Samuel D. Rauch III
Acting Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries