Biden eyes China with memorandum to combat illegal fishing

by | Jun 27, 2022 | World

Move comes as Washington steps up engagement with Asia to counter China’s growing influence.US President Joe Biden on Monday signed a national security memorandum to fight illegal fishing, part of pledged efforts to help countries combat alleged violations by fishing fleets, including those of China.
The White House said in a statement that it would also launch an alliance with Canada and the United Kingdom to “take urgent action” to improve monitoring, control, and surveillance in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
US officials have promised to introduce policies to better battle illegal fishing, particularly in the Indo-Pacific, as part of stepped-up engagement with the region to counter China’s growing influence.
Some countries in the region chafe at China’s vast fishing fleet, arguing its vessels often violate their 200-nautical-mile (300km) exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and cause environmental damage and economic losses.
Senior US administration officials told reporters in a briefing that the memorandum directs agencies to work towards “ending human trafficking, including forced labor … while promoting safe, sustainable use of the ocean”.
The Department of Labor, the Department of Defense, the US Coast Guard, and other enforcement agencies would engage with private and foreign partners to “investigate fishing vessels and operators expected to be harvesting seafood with forced labor,” the official said.
The effort was not targeted at any specific country, but the official said China was one of the largest violators.
“The PRC (People’s Republic of China) is …

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