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International Trade Agreements

View slideshow U.S. imports of fisheries products have increased steadily for many years. Credit: Data analysis by Linda Chaves, NOAA Fisheries import1.png import2.png export1.png export2.png

The seafood sector plays an important role in the U.S. economy, generating approximately 1.5 million jobs and providing a nutritious source of protein to the American public.  In 2011 alone, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $85.9 billion on fisheries products.  As the largest importer and fifth largest exporter of seafood, trade in this sector plays a vital role in the United States.  Presently, over 90% of the seafood the United States consumes is imported, about half of which comes from aquaculture. As a large seafood-consuming and fishing nation, it is critical that NOAA take an active role in shaping the conservation and management regimes of international fisheries.  We work to meet the demand of U.S. consumers that imported seafood be safe, legal, and sustainable.  We also aim to level the playing field for U.S. fishermen who operate in some of the most sustainably managed and heavily regulated fisheries in the world.  We address these challenges by engaging other nations internationally, both directly and through various fisheries and inter-governmental organizations.

Interested in learning more about the seafood the Unites States important and exports? Click on the graph (right) to view the slideshow. 

For questions on international trade, please contact Greg Schneider (

International Trade Organizations

World Trade Organization (WTO)
WTO Exit is the only global international organization dealing with binding rules on trade between nations.  At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and agreed by all of the world’s largest trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business in a rules-based environment.
Read more about WTO.

Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum
APEC Exit was established in 1989 to promote open trade investment and economic cooperation among economies around the Pacific Rim.  APEC members account for over 90% of global aquaculture production, more than 75% of the world’s capture fisheries, and approximately 70% of global consumption of fish and fisheries products.  Read more about APEC.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
OECD Exit is an inter-governmental organization that provides a forum for consultations on a wide range of economic issues among developed countries. The OECD Committee for Fisheries Exit, created in September 1961, provides a unique forum for an open and frank discussion on economic and policy aspects of fisheries issues.  Debate, discussion, and work focuses on policy reforms and improvements needed to achieve responsible and sustainable fisheries.  Read more about OECD