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U.S. Coast Guard to fight illegal fishing in Central America

February 19, 2021

The U.S. Coast Guard will increase efforts to fight illegal fishing in Central and South America, the State Department announced.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is expanding its partnerships with countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing,” reported ShareAmerica, a news platform operated by the U.S. State Department.

“The U.S. Coast Guard has partnered with 10 countries in the region to increase maritime security. Over the next 10 months, the Coast Guard plans to deploy 15 training teams to Central and South America.”

The Coast Guard did not detail with which Central American countries it will partner. However, its ongoing “Operation Southern Cross” aims to improve maritime security through relationships with Brazil, Uruguay and Guyana.

“IUU fishing threatens fish stock’s health and adversely impacts those who follow global norms and national laws,” said Vice Admiral Steven Poulin, the commander of U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “This is a global issue, and IUU is a problem too big for any one nation.”

While not explicitly targeted at fighting IUU, earlier this week, the United States donated a pair of boats to Costa Rica’s Coast Guard as part of regional efforts to combat narcotrafficking.

The Costa Rican Fisheries Institute (INCOPESCA) estimates there are 80 to 100 vessels dedicated to illegal enclosure fishing in the Gulf of Nicoya. IUU fishing also threatens protected waters around Cocos Island.

U.S. rejoins Paris Agreement

The United States has officially rejoined the Paris Agreement, a global effort to cut emissions and mitigate man-made climate change.

The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica on Friday celebrated the news with a post on Facebook.

“Today is the day!” it shared. “Bringing the world together to tackle the enormous challenge of climate change requires everyone to get to work. Our future is at stake, and we have no time to lose.”

Under President Joe Biden, the U.S. has also committed to conserve 30% of the earth’s land and oceans by 2030, a global policy championed by Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is a member of the Paris Agreement and has committed to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that are compatible with the global goals, according to Climate Action Tracker. The United States is categorized as “critically insufficient” as of the latest update in mid-2020.

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