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Lawmakers Request USITC Investigation of Illegal Seafood Imports

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (Democrat-Massachusetts) and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Earl Blumenauer (Democrat-Oregon) have asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to conduct an investigation on the potential economic effects on U.S. fishermen of competition with illegal, unreported and unregulated seafood imports.

The lawmakers contend that, in addition to contributing to the overexploitation of fish stocks, jeopardising food security and harming marine ecosystems, IUU fishing creates unfair competition for U.S. fishermen because up to 31 percent of the global catch is estimated to come from IUU fishing and imports account for 90 percent of U.S. seafood consumption. Neal and Blumenauer assert that mainland China, which 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.”

The lawmakers are requesting the report in order to better understand the size, scope, supply chains, pricing pressures and potential economic effects of IUU fishing, including 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 and country practices related to IUU production and exports, the extent to which IUU products are 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.

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