US Coast Guard says it's building cooperation to combat illegal fishing in Caribbean

US Coast Guard says it's building cooperation to combat illegal fishing in Caribbean

Monday, January 18, 2021

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WASHINGTON, DC, United States (CMC) — The United States Department of State says it is “proud” to support the US Coast Guard (USCG) Operation Southern Cross as part of the US' efforts to build regional maritime security partnerships and counter illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the South Atlantic, including the Caribbean.

The State Department, in a recent statement, said that the multi-month inaugural deployment of the new USCG legend-class national security cutter, Stone (WMSL 758) will strengthen cooperation and enhance security throughout the region.

In Guyana, on January 9, the State Department said Stone and the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard “engaged in a series of cooperative exercises that support combating IUU fishing, the first such operations conducted in conjunction with a new shiprider agreement ratified in 2020”.

The USCG cutter Stone will also perform the full range of USCG statutory missions “as circumstances warrant”.

So far, the Stone's crew has already interdicted one go-fast vessel in the Caribbean, seizing more than 900 kilogrammes of cocaine on January 7, south of the Dominican Republic.

“The United States is a global leader in efforts to tackle IUU fishing, including through work in multilateral institutions to strengthen the rules governing international fisheries, and bilateral engagement with the world's coastal, port and market states,” the State Department said.

It said the value of global captured fish production in 2018 was over US$151 billion, estimating that IUU fishing results in tens of billions of lost US-dollar revenue every year.

“IUU fishing jeopardises global food security, destabilises the economic security of coastal states, and violates state sovereignty by undermining international agreements and fisheries conservation measures,” the State Department said.

“In the South Atlantic we encourage our regional partners to be vigilant as we work together to protect the waters we share, and we urge our partners to both ratify and implement international measures such as the FAO Agreement on Port State Measures,” it added.

The US State Department said Operation Southern Cross is the US Coast Guard's first patrol to the South Atlantic in recent memory.

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