US Coast Guard returns to crack down on illegal fishing
The United States Coast Guard arrived on the island today as part of a fisheries enforcement initiative.
Sailors aboard the Rollin Fritch are working with the Royal Bermuda Regiment’s coastguard, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bermuda Police Service to monitor and prevent illegal fishing within Bermuda’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the island.
A spokeswoman for the US Consulate in Bermuda said: “This operation expands upon last year’s fisheries enforcement operation, which encountered multiple foreign-flagged fishing vessels operating in the region outside of Bermuda’s EEZ.
“These collective efforts advance the longstanding US-Bermuda partnership, as well as emphasise the continued need to protect the environment and living marine resources against Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, a global issue also prevalent in the mid-Atlantic.
“Left unenforced, IUU fishing will threaten global geopolitical security, undermine maritime governance and impact a nation’s ability to achieve domestic food security.”
Welcoming the Coast Guard back to the island, the US Consul-General, Karen Grisette, said: “The second year of this fisheries enforcement operation strengthens and expands the US’s strategic partnership with Bermuda and increases our interoperability.”
According to Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, this initiative continues the co-operation with the US Government in helping to prevent any illegal activity in Bermudian waters.
He added: “The willingness of the United States to support Bermuda in our effort to oversee our EEZ is in step with our centuries-long relationship as neighbours.
“My gratitude on behalf of the people of Bermuda extends to the US Government, the US Consul-General’s Office and their team in Bermuda for facilitating the support we will continue to get from the United States Coast Guard.”
The Coast Guard’s Fifth District oversees activity within the US’s mid-Atlantic region.
Shannon Gilreath, the commander of the district, said: “The impacts of IUU fishing are pervasive and far-reaching as it threatens local, regional and global fish stocks, undermines a nation’s sovereignty as well economic security and weakens maritime governance designed to protect the sea itself.
“We need to eradicate this threat to collective prosperity by spotlighting bad actors and rooting out illicit behaviour.”
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