WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The European and U.S. governments announced the signing of an agreement to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco in Washington signed the first bilateral agreement to combat illegal fishing, dubbed IUU fishing.
Lubchenco said IUU fishing presents one of the most significant threats to sustainable fishing and marine biodiversity. The European government estimates that IUU fishing takes as much as $23 billion from legal fisherman and coastal communities each year.
"IUU fishing is a criminal activity and we have the duty to make everything possible to stop this practice," Damanaki said in a statement. "By joining forces, we make it harder for culprits to get away with their dirty business."
The European Union is working to address its own common fisheries policy aimed at rebuilding its fisheries industry.
The EU ranks first in the world in terms of seafood importers. The United States is third.
International cooperation across oceans will help us strengthen enforcement and prevent legal fishing industries from being undermined in the global marketplace by illegal fishing," Lubchenco said.
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