ASEAN – U.S. join hands to fight IUU

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries. By adversely impacting fisheries, marine ecosystems, food security and coastal communities, IUU fishing undermines domestic and international conservation and management efforts.


The United States and the countries of Southeast Asia share a common vision of our oceans as global treasures, a source of food and energy, and a foundation for our way of life. On June 16, 2014 — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) agreed to work together to design and implement activities to enhance food security and biodiversity conservation in Asia and the Pacific.


The memorandum of understanding signed by SEAFDEC Secretary General Chumnarn Pongsri and USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia Director Michael Yates, reflects SEAFDEC’s and USAID’s intention to collaborate in the design, implementation and evaluation of USAID-funded sustainable fisheries activities. In addition, USAID and SEAFDEC plan to engage with other U.S. Government agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Department of Interior, to identify technical experts to assist in the facilitation of the envisioned activities.


SEAFDEC comprises Japan and the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. In partnership with USAID, the intergovernmental body will also conduct periodic joint planning exercises and look for ways to leverage resources for effective regional programming and implementation.


The program’s main objectives are to assist ASEAN in developing and implementing systems, which contribute to sustainable fisheries and marine resources conservation, such as ASEAN Catch Documentation Scheme and traceability system for marine fiseries products.


This collaboration would build upon the existing cooperation between SEAFDEC and the ASEAN Member States by generating technical grounds to support development of science and market-based policy and encourage fishing practices and related activities that would be undertaken in a responsible and sustainable manner, including traceability of fishery products.


Both sides also intend to convene an ad hoc consultative committee to advance a unified regional, sustainable and responsible fisheries agenda with participation from relevant regional organizations such as ASEAN, the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security and the Regional Plan of Action to Promote Responsible Fishing Practices including Combating IUU Fishing in the Region.


According to SEAFDEC, in 2011, Asia’s fishery production accounted for about 70 percent of total global production. Meanwhile, the contribution of the 10 Southeast Asian countries to the world’s total fishery production in 2011 was about 18.8 percent, an increase of 6.7 percent over 2010.


Source: U.S. AID Regional Development Mission for Asia