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The United States imports 90 percent of its seafood, according to the latest Fisheries of the United States Statistical Report Card. As a representative of the United State federal government, NOAA Law Enforcement works with various international organizations in the protection and conservation of global marine resources. In addition to national laws, we enforce international laws, treaties, and agreements that the United States signs as they relate to areas under our jurisdiction. For example, we play a key role in the enforcement of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) when related to marine wildlife.

OLE traveled to Manado, Indonesia, to provide technical assistance and capacity building support on the Port State Measures Agreement. 

Examples of Our International Work

Our expertise in environmental crime, criminal investigations, fishing industry, Vessel Monitoring System, and case management is consistently sought by the international community. NOAA enforcement agents and attorneys regularly attend Regional Fishery Management Organization meetings such as the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Living Marine Resources (CCAMLR) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) to provide enforcement expertise and legal advice on compliance issues and the development of new conservation and management measures.

We provided boots-on-the-ground, hands-on training to developing countries to help them protect their own waters. In 2012, NOAA agents and analysts completed monitoring, control, and surveillance surveys for the six countries in the Coral Triangle—Indonesia, the Philippine Islands, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste—to assess what each of the countries is doing to protect its own Economic Exclusive Zone (EEZ) and what their needs are. Because the countries also share maritime boundaries, we used this information to conduct transboundary workshop for three of the six countries in January 2013. Read more about our capacity building program.

NOAA agents also have provided training on the use of turtle excluder devices to Central American nations through the Organization of Fishing and Aquaculture in Central America and have provided training to Indonesian fisheries officials on implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (view factsheet) that would close ports of convenience to illegal, unregulated, and unregulated vessels. 

We are seeing increased recognition of international fisheries crime from other law enforcement agencies. INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization, created a Fisheries Crime Working Group in 2011, which plans to conduct several test studies during the next two years to assess the ability of INTERPOL to combat these types of crimes. A NOAA special agent serves as vice chair of this INTERPOL working group.

What is IUU fishing?

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries. IUU products often come from fisheries lacking the strong and effective conservation and management measures to which U.S. fishermen are subject.  IUU fishing most often violates conservation and management measures, such as quotas or bycatch limits, established under international agreements.  By adversely impacting fisheries, marine ecosystems, food security and coastal communities around the world, IUU fishing undermines domestic and international conservation and management efforts.  Furthermore, IUU fishing risks the sustainability of a multi-billion-dollar U.S. industry.

Read more information on how OLE is combating IUU fishing or visit the International Affairs' IUU overview and FAQs.

International Partners