Anglers Petition for Sanctions Against EU Nations

After the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced that the Atlantic white marlin would not be listed as threatened or endangered, the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) filed a petition to address the overfishing of highly migratory species by the European Union (EU). The petition was filed under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, with the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which allows a petitioner to request an investigation of a particular practice of a foreign country that harms U.S. commerce. If successful, the RFA petition could result in trade sanctions against foreign countries that continue to violate U.S. rights or benefits under a trade agreement, in this case the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Despite conservation measures taken by the United States, bluefin tuna, blue and white marlin, and swordfish stocks continue to decline, due in large part to the failure of the EU to comply with its obligations under ICCAT. ICCAT is a trade agreement that sets quotas and derives management measures to maintain the populations of tuna and tuna-like species that migrate across the Atlantic. Such a petition is warranted because the EU grants subsidies to its fishing sector that contribute to increasingly large fleets participating in unsustainable and illegal fishing.