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Why Enforcement Is Important

Annual global economic losses due to illegal, unregulated, and unreported harvesting and trafficking of fish and wildlife are estimated to be approximately $10 to $23 billion. In addition, illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing jeopardizes an industry that employs an estimated 35 million full- and part-time fishermen worldwide. In 2011, Americans consumed 4.7 billion pounds of seafood and spent an estimated $83.4 billion for fishery products. By producing and marketing a variety of fishery products for domestic and foreign markets, the commercial marine fishing industry added $42.2 billion to the U.S. Gross National Product. 

Fair and effective law enforcement is critical to sustaining this multi-billion dollar domestic industry. It protects the livelihoods of commercial fishermen, the hobbies of recreational fishermen, and the health of seafood consumers. Most commercial and recreational fishermen follow the rules, and we are there to ensure that they reap the benefits of fair competition and a level playing field in the market. Enforcement also protects the health and the wallets of seafood consumers by ensuring that they know what they are getting.

A deck hand on a shrimp trawler in the Gulf of Mexico pushes bycatch overboard, causing a feeding frenzy for waiting birds.

Additional Information

Our work is critical for protecting fish stocks from depletion and marine mammals from extinction.  Explore other places on our site to learn more about why enforcement is important.