Background Press Name on the President’s Nationwide Safety Memorandum on Unlawful, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing

By way of Teleconference

1:42 P.M. EDT

MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everybody.  We admire your endurance with us as we’re working a couple of minutes behind.  At present we’ll have just a few audio system focus on the Nationwide Safety Memorandum on Unlawful, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing and Different Dangerous Practices that the President signed this morning.


As a reminder, this name is on background, attributable to “senior administration officials,” however the embargo has now been moved as much as the conclusion of this name.

On your consciousness, not to your reporting, the senior administration officers on this name are [senior administration official], [senior administration official], and [senior administration official].

With that, I’ll go it off to [senior administration official].


SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Nice.  Thanks all for becoming a member of for right this moment’s name.  Actually admire your endurance with us getting it began, and actually look ahead to sharing with you that, right this moment, President Biden has signed a Nationwide Safety Memorandum targeted on unlawful, unreported, and unregulated fishing and related labor abuses.

It is a nice capstone to Nationwide Ocean Month.  That is following the President’s proclamation of June to be Nationwide Ocean Month and a recognition of June eighth as World Ocean Day.


The White Home started this month with a sequence of bulletins of the brand new steps the administration is taking to preserve and restore the well being and productiveness of the ocean for the good thing about all People.  And right this moment is the kickoff of the U.N. Ocean Convention in Portugal, which is the time for us to actually spotlight the worldwide parts of our engagements round ocean conservation particularly.

At present, we’ll be sharing with you a bit extra element round what we’re doing to fight IUU fishing.  Once more, that’s unlawful, unreported, and unregulated fishing. 


IUU fishing threatens the well being and treasured biodiversity of our oceans, which can also be dealing with rising threats posed by local weather change, acidification, and human air pollution.

Moreover, IUU fishing threatens the meals safety of coastal communities that won’t have the capability to fight these practices and in any other case forestall overfishing of their waters and depleting of sources.

IUU fishing may be interconnected with an internet of different troubling safety challenges and prison actions comparable to trafficking in individuals, compelled labor, commerce in illicit items, wildlife trafficking, and different violations of regulation.  Some states additionally encourage IUU fishing by related vessels as a technique of reinforcing illegal maritime claims. 

The U.S. is dedicated to combating IUU fishing globally, and the Nationwide Safety Memorandum that the President signed right this moment gives the usgovernment with an outlined set of actions to handle the issue of IUU fishing, together with IUU fishing dedicated by distant-water fishing fleets, and related prison actions, comparable to the usage of pressure labor within the seafood provide chain.

The memorandum, as you’ll see, directs departments and companies with a wide range of engagement methods, from elevated coordination with numerous stakeholders from private and non-private and overseas and home, to handle the challenges in a complete, all-of-government method.  It additionally makes use of the complete vary of current conservation, labor, commerce, financial, diplomatic, regulation enforcement, and nationwide safety authorities to handle these challenges, and focuses round enhancing coordination and the usage of current instruments and authorities to handle the problem of compelled labor within the seafood provide chain.

Lastly, it additionally requires elevated entry and diplomatic engagement round coaching and technical assist of overseas companions to hold out engagements in combating this conduct within the fishing business.

So with that, I’m happy to go this over to my colleagues from State to share a bit extra after which to NOAA.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks very a lot, [senior administration official].  And hey to everybody.  My title is [senior administration official]. 

As [senior administration official] was simply mentioning, the weather associated to combating IUU fishing on the Nationwide Safety Memorandum that was signed right this moment by the President embody diplomatic engagements.

The USA is among the largest seafood markets.  We have now one of many largest unique financial zones and waters underneath our jurisdiction on this planet.  And we’re additionally a fishing nation. 

However we can not fight IUU fishing alone; it’s a international downside.  It’s concerned within the worth chain that feeds not solely the U.S. market however different essential markets.  And there are a number of international locations who’ve been working to fight IUU fishing themselves. 

And we imagine that probably the most essential components of our diplomatic engagement is to mix and companion with all the international locations which might be engaged on this work to be sure that we’re as profitable as attainable in addressing IUU fishing but in addition the associated human rights, labor issues, and environmental impacts of IUU fishing.

And so we’re very happy this week to make the most of the worldwide deal with oceans on the U.N. Ocean Convention.  And we might be launching an IUU Fishing Motion Alliance to carry collectively international locations to decide to a pledge to take pressing motion towards IUU fishing. 

It will assist us within the worldwide implementation of the actions outlined within the Nationwide Safety Memorandum, and it’ll assist us capitalize on the sources and dedication of different international locations, whether or not they’re coastal states, flag states, market states, or all the above; and actually start to generate elevated transparency by way of fishing operations, elevated accountability of fishers to the worldwide guidelines or the principles of their flag authorities, and to be sure that the seafood merchandise which might be coming into the U.S. market are caught in accordance with worldwide guidelines and nationwide guidelines.

In order that’s one of many main actions we’ll be taking to start instantly to carry collectively the diplomatic efforts mandatory to make sure the Nationwide Safety Memorandum is successfully carried out and does what it’s supposed to do.

So with that, I’ll flip issues over to [senior administration official] to speak about some actions that NOAA might be taking as nicely.  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, [senior administration official].  Thanks, [senior administration official].

NOAA might be saying two actions that assist to realize among the goals outlined within the Nationwide Safety Memorandum.

First, right this moment, NOAA is issuing a proposed rule which can improve and strengthen its capabilities to fight IUU fishing and counter compelled labor within the seafood provide chain by implementing a number of provisions underneath three completely different legal guidelines.

And I feel the important thing — the important thing takeaway is that the —

what we will do is we’re altering — nicely, we’re not altering, we’re making our definition of IUU fishing per that of the FAO’s, which can allow us in our comparability findings to each embody compelled labor and the way we decide whether or not a rustic has comparable legal guidelines to ours, permitting the imports, and whether or not or not we determine fishing in waters underneath the jurisdiction of a nation with out the permission of that nation or in violation of that nation’s legal guidelines and laws.  And so that can assist us to forestall imports of these merchandise into the US.

I encourage you to take a look at the complete spectrum of the proposed rule for quite a few different provisions which might be proposed right here.

The second announcement that NOAA, along with the 21 companies that comprise the IUU fishing interagency working group, is — we’re saying that we’re finalizing a strategic — a five-year strategic plan.  And in that strategic plan, we’ve recognized quite a few companions that we’ll be working immediately with to fight IUU fishing on the bottom.  And people companions are Senegal, Ecuador, Panama, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

We’ll be doing capability constructing in these international locations, not as a result of they’re the first offenders of IUU fishing, however as a result of they’ve expressed a willingness to work with the US to fight IUU fishing of their international locations.

With that, I’ll flip it again over to [senior administration official] and the NSC.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks.  Keely, are you able to remind us find out how to queue up questions, please? 

Q    Hello, thanks for the decision.  Simply so I’m clear, may you perhaps reiterate or be slightly extra particular about what the mem- — memorandum directs the companies to do? 

After which, as a secondary query, I’m wondering how a lot of this is because of issues about Chinese language unlawful fishing.  And, I imply, China says that it’s a accountable fishing nation, however how would you characterize China’s conduct on this space?  And has the U.S. ever broached negotiations with China over these points?  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Nice.  Thanks for that query.  So, with further specificity, the NSM directs departments and companies to work towards ending human trafficking, together with compelled labor and IUU fishing, whereas selling sustainable use of the ocean in partnership with different nations and the non-public sector, and advance overseas and commerce insurance policies for the good thing about American employees. 

And particularly, it’s asking departments and companies to extend the coordination with numerous stakeholders, as I discussed earlier, to make use of that full vary of instruments that I discussed earlier to you as nicely, but in addition to do issues like: examine fishing vessels and operators suspected to be harvesting seafood with compelled labor and difficulty with maintain launch orders as acceptable; to extend our engagement with key non-public sector and overseas companions, together with by offering coaching and technical assist to those companions; and to hold out analysis on labor practices within the seafood business via Division of Labor, as an example, to coordinate extra intently with the Division of Protection, the Coast Guard, and different enforcement companies as nicely.

Particular to your query about China and our engagements there: The Nationwide Safety Memorandum isn’t about anybody particular nation.  All fishing nations, together with these with distant-water fishing fleets, carry a spread of flag-state duties together with monitoring their fleets and imposing guidelines to forestall their vessels from partaking in IUU fishing.

It is usually important that each one flag states, together with the PRC, totally settle for and implement their duties to forestall and deter IUU fishing, and ensures sustainable conservation and administration of our fishery sources.

The PRC is a number one contributor to IUU fishing worldwide, and it has impeded progress on the event of measures to fight IUU fishing and overfishing in worldwide organizations.  And the PRC has a duty to uphold these commitments as a flag state and actively monitor and proper the actions of fishing fleet actions in different international locations’ waters — of its fleet fishing actions in different international locations’ waters, together with stopping its vessels from fishing outdoors coastal states’ license agreements or with no license to fish in any respect.

The U.S. has engaged bilaterally with the PRC to determine issues about IUU fishing, to advertise the PRC’s full implementation of flag-state duties, and encourage the PRC’s improved implementation of worldwide measures and in cooperation with agreements just like the Port State Measures Settlement that now — that [senior administration official] talked about briefly about PSMA. 

We additionally name on the PRC to satisfy its pledge and actively taking part in and assist the worldwide neighborhood in combating towards IU fishing.

Thanks a lot for the query.

Q    Hello, thanks for doing this name.  I had just a few fundamental nuts-and-bolts questions.  Is that this the primary time there’s been a nationwide safety memo on IUU fishing?  And I additionally hoped that the consultant from NOAA may clarify the primary measure — the primary motion that they’re taking right this moment in slightly bit extra element.  It sort of was slightly bit complicated to me, and perhaps she may stroll us via that.

After which, I additionally simply needed to know — I didn’t get an opportunity to learn via all the memo, however the criticism that I typically hear is that there’s not sufficient sources and never sufficient brokers really, you already know, engaged on these issues inside NOAA, inside CBP to implement the legal guidelines that already are on the books.  So, I’m questioning if there’s any dedication from the Biden administration to extend hiring of individuals on this discipline.  Thanks.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  [Senior administration official], do you need to begin?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I can begin.  Thanks for that query.  Let me undergo the proposed rule and see if I can make clear slightly bit extra what I acknowledged.

The proposed rule would strengthen NOAA’s potential to handle IUU fishing actions when implementing the U.S. Moratorium Safety Act — a key engagement instrument used to determine, seek the advice of with, and certify nations and entities whose fishing vessels are engaged in IUU fishing, bycatch of protected residing marine sources, or shark catch on the excessive seas.  What we’re speaking about right this moment is de facto targeted on that first half — the fishing vessels engaged in IUU fishing.

Particularly, the rule proposes to broaden the scope of actions that NOAA can contemplate when figuring out nations for IUU fishing to incorporate, the very first thing, fishing in waters underneath the jurisdiction of a nation with out the permission of that nation or in violation of its legal guidelines and laws.  And the second piece is: fishing actions in waters past any nationwide jurisdictions that contain the usage of compelled labor. 

So, these are the important thing provisions that can — ought to the rule get finalized with these, would enable NOAA to discover a nation in violation of that and stop these merchandise from being imported into our market.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Thanks, [senior administration official]. 

Concerning your query on the NSM, that is the primary time there’s been an NSM addressing IUU fishing. 

And relating to sources, we’ve been working intently with Congress to make sure there are enough sources directed at addressing these key points.  And we’ll proceed to work intently with Congress on the implementation of the memorandum.

MODERATOR:  Nice.  And thanks to our audio system.  And thanks for — you all for becoming a member of.  Apologies, we’ve to chop this fast at 2:00.  However as a reminder, the embargo now lifts.  Thanks.  Attain out with every other questions.

1:59 P.M. EDT

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