US Congress steps up illegal fish fight

THE  United States Congress  is stepping up its campaign to outlaw illegal fishing by sending a bill to President Barak Obama designed to stop companies from dumping illegally caught fish.  The President  himself has also thrown his full weight behind banning the illegal fish trade.
The Bill  has been drawn up in a way that supports an  international treaty, agreed some six years ago,  and  designed to identify and eliminate illegal and unregulated fishing. The treaty’s aim is to develop a global list of unlawful seafood vessels and businesses and cut them off from all possible markets. So far, 12 countries and the European Union have become parties to the treaty.
Despite being one of the world’s main fishing countries , the US remains a huge buyer of imported seafood and much of it from countries in South East Asia like Vietnam. It is claimed  that more than a quarter of US  wild-caught imports come from illicit fish trade, according to a study published last year in the journal Marine Policy. It estimated the value of such illegal U.S. imports at between $1 billion to $2 billion each year.

Out of sight from authorities on the high seas, vessels may poach valuable species illegally or, when they return to port, fraudulently sell fish as a different, more expensive species. Such imports deplete worldwide fish populations and undercut local sellers who operate legally.

But netting the culprits is not as easy as it seems. Scott Doyle, a former special agent in charge of Mid-Atlantic investigations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the Baltimore Sun that fraudsters are hard to catch, describing it as difficult as solving   a bank robbery that had taken place overseas.