Neal and Blumenauer Request Investigation into the Economic Effects of Illegal Seafood Imports

Dec 19, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sent a letter to U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) Chairman David Johanson requesting the USITC conduct an investigation on the potential economic effects on U.S. fishermen of competition with illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood imports. 

“Up to 31 percent of the global catch of fish reportedly comes from IUU fishing, at an estimated value of more than $23 billion per year,” wrote Neal and Blumenauer. “IUU fishing contributes to the overexploitation of fish stocks, threatens the livelihoods of coastal communities, jeopardizes food security, and harms marine ecosystems. IUU fishing also creates unfair competition for U.S. fishermen as imports account for 90 percent of U.S. seafood consumption.”

The members also pointed out that China, which “plays an enormous role in the global production and trade of seafood and is the largest seafood trade partner of the United States,” is ranked as “worst among 152 coastal countries based on the prevalence of IUU fishing and the country’s response to it.”

Neal and Blumenauer urged the USITC conduct its report to better understand the size, scope, supply chains, pricing pressures, and potential economic effects of this problem. Specifically, the members requested the report include information regarding the prevalence of IUU products in the U.S. import market; international mechanisms for monitoring and enforcement to address IUU fishing; the size and structure of the U.S. commercial fishing industry; major global producers of IUU products, including but not limited to China, and country practices related to IUU production and exports; the extent to which IUU product is imported into the United States; and the economic impact of IUU imports on U.S. commercial fishermen and U.S. commercial fishing production, trade, and prices. 

Full text of the letter is available HERE