WASHINGTON – Late yesterday, United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced a new bill that signals U.S. support for international action to stop government subsidies that lead to overfishing. Specifically, the Fair Trade in Seafood Act (S. 3518) would establish the issue as a Principal Negotiating Objective of the U.S. in the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and World Trade Organization (WTO) round talks.
Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, issued the following statement of support from Corry Westbrook, federal policy director:
“Oceana applauds Sen. Wyden for introducing this important legislation. This bill will send an important message to our trading partners around the world by showing that stopping overfishing subsidies is a U.S. trade priority.”
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 85 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion-- the highest percentage since FAO began keeping records.
Many governments continue to provide significant subsidies that push their fleets to fish longer, harder and farther away than otherwise would be possible. Destructive fisheries subsidies are estimated to be at least $16 billion annually, an amount equivalent to approximately 20 percent of the value of the world catch. The scope and effects of these “overfishing subsidies” are so significant that eliminating them is the single greatest action that can be taken to protect the world’s oceans.
For more information about Oceana’s campaign to stop overfishing subsidies, please visit www.cutthebait.org.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.