Oceana urged the United States today to pursue a marine environment agreement to promote the sustainable trade and management of ocean resources as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement. In a letter, Oceana asked the United States to pursue obligations and commitments in the TPP that would address harmful subsidies for fishing, protect shark populations, combat seafood fraud and illegal fishing, improve fisheries management and the ability to preserve living marine resources, and improve compliance with domestic and international programs and agreements.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership presents a significant opportunity to use trade policy to address the mounting environmental challenges facing the oceans,” said Michael F. Hirshfield, senior vice president and chief scientist at Oceana. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a chance for the United States to take leadership in addressing some of the severe problems of exploitation in the oceans that are perpetuated by trade.”
All of the countries involved in the TPP have strong marine interests. Nearly all of the eight TPP countries are major marine fishing nations. The United States, Chile, Peru and Vietnam are among the top 15 global producers by volume. Australia and New Zealand are also significant producers and exporters of higher value fish. The United States is the second largest importer of seafood in the world, close behind Japan.
“Ocean resources have previously only received minimal attention in U.S. regional trade agreements,” said Hirshfield. “Oceana looks forward to working with the United States and partner countries to ensure that the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement includes strong provisions to protect and conserve the marine environment.”
In December 2009, the Office of the United States Trade Representative formally notified Congress of the Obama Administration's intent to enter into negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement. The initial TPP negotiating partners include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The U.S. objective is to expand on this initial group to include additional countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region.