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U.S., Europe sign world fishing pact
by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Sep 9, 2011

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The United States and Europe say they've signed an agreement to cooperate in combating illegal fishing on the world's oceans.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Jane Lubchenco and European Union Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki signed the agreement in Washington Wednesday, Inter Press Service reported.

As two of the world's largest fish consuming markets, Europe and the United States said they've agreed to strengthen monitoring of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing with the goal of protecting fishing livelihoods and world fish stocks.

Illegal or "pirate" fishing is estimated to make up 20 to 40 percent of all fish catches worldwide, with a market value of $23 billion.

The agreement includes a proposed global seafood catch certification scheme that would give consumer countries the authority to turn away pirate fishing vessels at port and to identify and reject illegally caught fish.

Activists said they saw the new agreement as an encouraging sign.

"We need action urgently if we want fish around for future generations," Gerry Leape, senior officer for international policy at the Pew Environment Group, said.

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