Florida A & M University Law Review


Ginna Arevalo


The U.S. is the world’s largest importer of seafood, importing virtually every fish sold in the U.S. market. Trade statistics do not break down the percentage of imported wild harvested fish, but a recent study estimated that twenty to thirty-two percent are caught illegally. Trade in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fisheries undermines efforts to conserve fish stocks, generates global annual losses of up to twenty-three billion dollars, and weakens economic opportunity for U.S. fishermen. Part I of this paper explains the role of different actors in the trade of duty-free IUU fish and how IUU catches may enter the U.S. market due to the states’ failure to implement mechanisms that allow the U.S. to monitor fishing activities and landing of fish. Part II outlines key elements of three international instruments—Cooperative Environmental Clauses of FTAs, FAO Guidelines for ecolabelling of wild fish, and the PSMA—that, despite their non-binding effect, may prevent IUU fisheries from entering foreign markets. Part III proposes a carrot and stick solution to the trade in IUU fisheries problem.