MIAMI – USA South Team (SOUTHCOM) together with Florida International University (FIU) to campus on November 1st. convened senior U.S. government leaders and subject matter experts from across government, nonprofits, civil society, academia, and private industry. .
SOUTHCOM was represented by US Ambassador Jean Manes, the command’s civilian deputy commander. Also present was Maxine Burkett, US Under Secretary of State for Oceans, Fisheries and Polar Affairs.
Considered one of the biggest threats to ocean health, the United States is committed to combating IUU fishing worldwide. Based on June 27 of this year According to the National Security Memorandum, IUU fishing and related harmful fishing practices are the causes of global overfishing, contributing to the collapse or decline of fisheries that are critical to economic growth, food systems and ecosystems. many countries of the world.
SOUTHCOM has partnered with FIU and worked with the NGO Global Fishing Watch to raise awareness of IUU fishing, detect and deter IUU fishing in the region, and further enable the fight against IUU fishing through data sharing and topic exchange.
In his closing remarks, Burkett touched on the threat posed by IUU fishing, but also shared his optimism about how it can be effectively combated through strong regulations, data sharing and people’s accountability. “Working together, we can transform IUU fishing to ensure a safe and sustainable ocean,” she said, stressing the need to work together to develop a robust and comprehensive approach. “By bringing together our IUU leadership partners, agencies, organizations and/or stakeholders, we are increasing ambition, momentum and, most importantly, action in the fight against IUU fishing.”
Echoing the Deputy Secretary of State’s comments on the work being done by the US, Manes also noted that Western Hemisphere countries have listed IUU fishing as one of the top three threats to combat, along with transnational criminal networks/drug traffickers and cyber security.
“Now is the time to take bold action together,” Manes said. “We have a directive from the President of the United States; Secretary of State Blinken was recently in Peru and discussed the importance of this issue; The US agreed to support the Eastern Tropical Pacific Maritime Corridor with Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and Panama at the Summit of the Americas; The US Coast Guard considers IUU fishing to be the biggest threat to the sea; and the US government has just announced a five-year plan to combat IUU fishing.
She stressed that greater intelligence, information sharing and the use of technology will be crucial and warned participants that there are already countries in Africa where fish stocks have been declared “non-renewable”, before stressing the need to “prevent this from happening in the Western Hemisphere”.