Today, the U.S. International Trade Commission released its findings on the economic impact of the importation of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) seafood on the U.S. fishing industry.

The report found that the U.S. imported an estimated $2.4 billion worth of illegal seafood in 2019. Further it found that addressing the illegal imports would create U.S. jobs, protect U.S. consumers and benefit U.S. fishers by an estimated $60.8 million.

In response, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Michele Kuruc, vice president of ocean policy:

“This report reminds us that the ramifications of illegal fishing go far beyond the health of our oceans. It depletes our oceans, fuels labor and human rights abuses, and leaves our domestic producers at an economic disadvantage. People are harmed, economies are hurt, and our oceans and planet are in peril.

“Eradicating illegal fishing requires a whole of government approach, as our current definitions, processes and efforts have far-reaching limitations. The good news is we have the tools, but they need to be strengthened to get the job done.

“The US needs to expand the species covered by our current monitoring program. We need to track all imported species, not just a small group, to truly tackle this issue and protect our oceans, foster economic growth and empower people who rely on oceans for food and income.”