The Maritime Security and Fisheries Enforcement (SAFE) Act requires the establishment of an Interagency Working Group to strengthen maritime security and combat IUU fishing.
Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries. It also threatens our economic security and the natural resources that are critical to global food security, and it puts law-abiding fishermen and seafood producers in the United States and abroad at a disadvantage.
The Maritime Security and Fisheries Enforcement (SAFE) Act was passed in December 2019 to provide a whole-of-government approach to counter IUU fishing and related threats to maritime security. Section 3551 of the Act requires the establishment of an Interagency Working Group to strengthen maritime security and combat IUU fishing.
This Working Group brings together twenty-one agencies for an integrated, Federal Government-wide response to IUU fishing globally. The chair and deputy chairs of the Working Group rotates among NOAA, U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Coast Guard. NOAA is serving as the first chair. The members of the Working Group include representatives from:
- U.S. Coast Guard;
- Department of State;
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;
- Department of Defense;
- United States Navy;
- United States Agency for International Development;
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service;
- Department of Justice;
- Department of the Treasury;
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection;
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
- Federal Trade Commission;
- Department of Agriculture;
- Food and Drug Administration;
- Department of Labor;
- One or more members from the intelligence community, appointed by the Director of National Intelligence;
- National Security Council;
- Council on Environmental Quality;
- Office of Management and Budget;
- Office of Science and Technology Policy; and
- Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Dr. Paul Doremus, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator for Operations, is the Chair of the Working Group in coordination with Deputy Chairs, Dr. Ben Purser, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Fisheries, Department of State, and Captain Timothy Brown, Chief of the Office of Law Enforcement, the U.S. Coast Guard. Since its inaugural meeting on June 24, 2020, the Working Group has been discussing priority activities, as well as processes for identifying priority regions and priority flag states, engagement with stakeholders, reports to Congress, and Working Group structure. The work of this group will also include implementation of Section 5 of the Executive Order on Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth, issued on May 7, 2020.
Request for Public Comments On Interagency Work Plan
The Working Group has developed a Work Plan — a living document to guide its day-to-day work, as well as serve as the foundation for the 5-year Strategic Plan. It contains a brief background, identifies subworking groups and task groups, lists the range activities and associated tasks to combat IUU fishing, and describes areas for interagency collaboration.
NMFS is seeking public comments on the Work Plan of the Interagency Working Group on Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing. Written comments on the Work Plan should be submitted by January 15, 2021, to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Listening Sessions
The Working Group continues to host public listening sessions on its Work Plan. The listening sessions will consist of brief presentations followed by an opportunity for listeners to provide verbal comments to the Working Group. Upcoming dates for the listening sessions will be posted on this webpage.