Are Recent Gains in Fishing Stock Being Wiped Out In Gulf of Mexico By Illegal Fishing?

08/16/13 Robert Lorei
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Good morning. Welcome to Radioactivity. I'm Rob Lorei. Illegal fishing is a huge and growing problem in the Gulf of Mexico and it’s putting the Gulf Coast economy and our national security at risk. Illegal fishing boats, mostly from Mexico, come into U.S. waters to steal fish, costing our economy dearly. (Globally, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing costs the economy up to $23 per year.) Many of these boats are also used for drug smuggling and other crimes. Yet as big as this problem is, most people are unaware it even occurs.

There are two bipartisan bills in the U.S. Senate right now that would greatly improve enforcement of illegal fishing. Both bills were passed out of committee this summer and now await a vote in the full Senate.

Commercial and recreational fishing in the Gulf supports 168,000 jobs and contributes $13.7 billion to the Gulf Coast fishery, according to government data. Addressing the threat of foreign illegal fishing will take more than increased awareness among local and regional law enforcement because, as one official in Texas put it, “weather permitting, it is happening every day.”

Here to talk about this is Will Ward who is with the Gulf Fisherman's Association. He operates a web site called Noillegalfishing.com

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