Chefs Call on Congress to End Illegal Fishing, Seafood Fraud, and Human Rights Abuses

WASHINGTON Nowadays, a lot more than 200 chefs and cafe house owners despatched a letter to Congress calling for speedy action to handle illegal fishing, seafood fraud, and human rights abuses in the seafood marketplace. Precisely, the cooks are demanding increased traceability of seafood imports and transparency at sea to assure that all seafood served in the United States is risk-free, legally caught, responsibly sourced, and honestly labeled.

The letter, which is signed by top cooks these as Dan Barber, Tom Colicchio, Bun Lai, Rick Moonen, Jacques Pepin, Virginia Willis, and contains 45 chefs from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Observe Blue Ribbon Task Pressure on sustainable seafood, outlines the want for Congress to call for traceability for all seafood bought in the United States. In the letter, the cooks say “We are a coalition of chefs that collectively provide seafood to millions of buyers for every calendar year. We take satisfaction in feeding our communities the best-top quality seafood that is not only mouth watering but also harvested ethically with minimum environmental expense. We are fully commited to serving dishes that are very good for both equally individuals and the planet. Hence, we call on Congress to crack down on unlawful fishing and related compelled labor abuses.”

“There should be no problem from chefs or seafood eaters—seafood sold in the U.S. must be secure, legally caught, responsibly sourced, and truthfully labeled, and the authorities need to step up and make it so,” explained Jacques Pepin, globe-renowned chef and cooking display host, author, instructor, and artist.

“When I provide seafood to my consumers, I want them to be confident that it was caught lawfully and that every person concerned in its capture and manufacturing was addressed humanely,” explained celebrity chef and founder of Crafted Hospitality Tom Colicchio. “Right now, that is all but unattainable. It does not have to be this way because the U.S. governing administration can action up initiatives to end illegal fishing and have to have that seafood employees are dealt with with the respect and dignity they deserve.” 

In Might of this year, Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Garret Graves (R-La.) released the Illegal Fishing and Forced Labor Avoidance Act, a extensive bill to finish unlawful, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, seafood fraud, and human rights abuses in the seafood field although strengthening U.S. management on problems that threaten our oceans, buyers, and human legal rights. This monthly bill, which a short while ago handed out of the Dwelling Committee on Natural Means, would provide individuals with much more data about the seafood they eat, call for fish to be tracked from boat to plate, enhance vessel transparency, reduce illegally caught and sourced seafood from moving into the United States, and help conclude compelled labor at sea. In addition, the invoice would make it possible for the United States to get stronger motion in opposition to nations that fall short to address IUU fishing and human legal rights abuses in the seafood sector.  

“As a chef and sustainable seafood advocate, I strongly guidance the Illegal Fishing and Forced Labor Prevention Act,” stated chef and James Beard award-profitable cookbook creator Virginia Willis. “This important legislation aims to improve seafood traceability struggle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and suppress the labor abuses of human trafficking, compelled labor, and kid labor in the US seafood supply chain.  Our seafood alternatives make a difference and impression not only the wellness of the ocean, but also pretty true human life.”


In the United States, up to 85{57f679433bdda16678ea619f315c9bc28ff40af1ef9e9f7b6fe14a3c8b72c25f} of the fish we eat is imported, with up to 32{57f679433bdda16678ea619f315c9bc28ff40af1ef9e9f7b6fe14a3c8b72c25f} of wild-caught imports being items of illegal or unreported fishing. A report by the International Trade Commission located that the United States imported $2.4 billion worth of seafood derived from unlawful, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2019. IUU fishing can incorporate fishing devoid of authorization, disregarding capture boundaries, operating in closed regions, concentrating on protected wildlife, and fishing with prohibited gear. These illicit pursuits can ruin vital habitats, severely deplete fish populations, and threaten world wide foodstuff protection. For illegal fishers, IUU fishing is a minimal-hazard, higher-reward action, specifically on the superior seas where a fragmented authorized framework and lack of efficient enforcement make it possible for it to thrive. 

In 2016, the U.S. authorities proven the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP), necessitating capture documentation and traceability for some seafood at possibility of illegal fishing and seafood fraud. SIMP at present only applies to 13 sorts of imported seafood and only involves traceability from the boat to the U.S. border. In 2019, Oceana produced the outcomes of a seafood fraud investigation, testing well-known seafood not coated by SIMP, and identified that 1 in every 5 fish tested nationwide was mislabeled, demonstrating that seafood fraud is continue to pervasive in the United States. Seafood fraud and IUU fishing in the end hurt truthful fishermen and seafood businesses that engage in by the principles, masks conservation and health threats of certain species, and cheats buyers who drop target to a bait–and–switch.

In January 2021, Oceana released the benefits of a nationwide poll acquiring that People in america overwhelmingly assistance guidelines to conclusion illegal fishing and seafood fraud. Integrated among the the important conclusions, 89{57f679433bdda16678ea619f315c9bc28ff40af1ef9e9f7b6fe14a3c8b72c25f} of voters agree that imported seafood need to be held to the identical requirements as U.S. caught seafood. In addition, 81{57f679433bdda16678ea619f315c9bc28ff40af1ef9e9f7b6fe14a3c8b72c25f} of voters say they assistance procedures that prevent seafood from becoming offered in the U.S. that was caught making use of human trafficking and slave labor. Eighty-a few p.c of voters agree that all seafood must be traceable from the fishing boat to the dinner plate, and 77{57f679433bdda16678ea619f315c9bc28ff40af1ef9e9f7b6fe14a3c8b72c25f} help requirements for all fishing vessels to be publicly trackable. The results present common bipartisan aid for guidelines aimed at increasing transparency and seafood traceability. 

To be a part of the connect with for seafood traceability and transparency at sea, cooks or cafe owners should really signal on here.

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