Recommendation 13: partnerships - forum

Direct the Task Force to establish a regular forum with harvesters, importers, dealers, retailers, processors, and non-governmental organizations to enhance collaboration in combating IUU fishing and seafood fraud and to improve understanding of the levels and nature of IUU fishing and seafood fraud and related criminal activities.

Rationale

Just as one federal agency alone cannot combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, these issues cannot be addressed only by the federal or state governments. It is important that the federal agencies join forces and take strong steps in partnership with the non-federal entities such as harvesters, importers, dealers, retailers, processors, academia, and non-governmental organizations. In particular, the wide range of entities that provided public comments on both the establishment of the Task Force and the implementation of its recommendations demonstrates a broad knowledge and investment made in addressing these issues across the seafood supply chain. As federal efforts to address issues related to IUU fishing and seafood fraud continue, it is crucial to bring together all relevant stakeholders so that the NOC Committee has a range of experience and collaborative resources to draw upon and inform federal policy. From this regular forum, areas of collaboration between federal agencies and stakeholders can be identified to address IUU fishing and seafood fraud concerns in the supply chain. A number of initiatives and professional fora external to the federal government already exist to bring together various stakeholders and collaborate on a wide range of fisheries issues. It is important to build upon and engage in these venues as an opportunity to continue robust dialogue and engagement with interested stakeholders.

Taking this context into account, the NOC Committee will establish a regular forum open to all interested stakeholders to facilitate discussion and exchange information on combating IUU fishing and seafood fraud. Comprised of both virtual and in-person components, this forum would, among other things, enhance public awareness of NOC Committee activities, as well as highlight non-government efforts to combat IUU fishing and seafood fraud, and develop public-private partnerships. This forum would not supplant formal comment periods for specific regulatory proposals or policies that are developed in response to other Task Force recommendations, but could serve as a feedback loop as the NOC Committee implements recommendations as well as help provide innovative ideas and solutions moving forward.

Implementation Steps

Lead Agency: NOAA
Other Agencies Involved: All NOC Committee agencies
The forum will manifest in a few different ways:
  • NOC Committee agencies will develop and maintain a public web portal to facilitate the work of the
    forum by December 2015. Among other things, this web portal will:
    • Serve as a repository of information on relevant laws, regulations, and policies related to IUU
      fishing and seafood fraud.
    • Link to the websites and relevant pages of NOC Committee agencies.
    • Provide contact information of NOC Committee agencies.
    • Provide a mechanism to report IUU Fishing and seafood fraud complaints.
    • Serve as a public web portal to inform stakeholders and other interested parties about various NOC Committee engagement events and related federal activities throughout the year.
    • Provide other related NOC Committee information, as relevant.
  • Hold an annual, public, in-person forum of interested stakeholders that may focus its discussions on a specific IUU fishing or seafood fraud concern. Topic suggestions will be solicited throughout the year at various NOC Committee engagement sessions and through the public web portal. By December 2015, the first in-person forum will be held, with a focus on the implementation of particular Task Force recommendations of interest to stakeholders (to be determined through stakeholder
    engagement).
  • To support these in-person meetings, the NOC Committee will develop a series of ongoing virtual meetings such as webinars to exchange information on implementation of Task Force recommendations and on the roles of NOC Committee agencies, and to solicit public feedback. A first virtual meeting will take place in June 2015.
  • NOC Committee representatives will regularly engage at other stakeholder forums throughout the year to apprise stakeholders of ongoing NOC Committee efforts and receive feedback. Such forums could include: conferences and industry trade shows organized by entities external to the government, various Regional Fishery Management Council meetings, and Capitol Hill Ocean Week, among others.

Federal leaders meet with regional fishery management councils and key stakeholders at Managing Our Nation's Fisheries-3 Conference in Washington, D.C. (May 2013). Photo Credit:  NOAA Fisheries 


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