Spotlight on Our Work InternationallyA Message from Eileen Sobeck, Head of NOAA Fisheries
November 16, 2016
NOAA Fisheries is Hands-On with the Stewardship of Fisheries, Protected Marine Species and Habitats Globally
It’s a fact - Americans love their seafood. We are one of the world’s largest seafood consuming nations and our appetite for seafood will only continue grow. However, we already import 80 to 90 percent of the seafood we consume in any given year. Fisheries sees this as an opportunity and an obligation to share with other nations what we have learned about how to sustainably manage fisheries and to promote the conservation and protection of marine life and their habitats. Just as we do in the United States for domestic fisheries management, Fisheries works hand-in-hand with international management and conservation bodies, to export our sustainable practices, strengthen international enforcement of regulations, and demonstrate the importance of careful stewardship of our ocean species and habitats globally.
Examples of our efforts to advance effective international fisheries and marine stewardship include a large team initiative that succeeded in 2016 after years of effort culminating in the establishment of the world’s largest marine protected area in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. Further, this year, we helped ensure legal and sustainable trade of chambered nautiluses and devil rays under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species; and we have strengthened the rules governing seafood imports into the U.S. to ensure those imports do not adversely impact marine mammals globally and are held to the same standards as U.S. commercial fishing operations.
Throughout November, we’ll highlight more of these activities and milestones in the international arena, including an end-of-month wrap-up of the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, also known as ICCAT, which occurs every November. ICCAT is a critical international forum that contributes greatly to the collective goal of reversing the decline of some of our most valuable highly migratory species in the Atlantic, such as Bluefin tuna. NOAA Fisheries staff is always in the thick of it—developing and pushing for conservation measures that will make a difference.
We have learned that by working collaboratively with our international partners and communities we can and do make tremendous strides. I am proud of our collective efforts thus far and look forward to sharing these and many more impressive accomplishments with you.
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries