LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to combat illegal fishing by China, ordering federal agencies to better coordinate among themselves as well as with foreign partners in a bid to promote sustainable exploitation of the world’s oceans.
On Monday, the White House released its first ever National Security memo on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, or IUU, to coincide with the start of a United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
Nearly 11% of total U.S. seafood imports in 2019 worth $2.4 billion came from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, according to the U.S. International Trade Commission, a federal agency.
While China isn’t named in the lengthy policy framework, language in it left little doubt where it was aimed. The memo is bound to irritate Beijing at a time of growing geopolitical competition between the two countries. China is a dominant seafood processor and through state loans and fuel subsidies has built the world’s largest distant water fishing fleet, with thousands of floating fish factories spread across Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Specifically, the memo directs 21 federal departments and agencies to better share information, coordinate enforcement actions such as sanctions and visa restrictions and promote best practices among international allies.
It will also be followed in coming days by new rules from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expanding the definition of illegal fishing to include related labor abuses, a first step to the eventual blacklisting of flag states that fail to comply.
Conservation groups praised the effort, which builds on work started under the Obama administration to clean up U.S. seafood supply chains.
“American fishermen have to follow a lot of rules and regulations by the U.S. government,” said Beth Lowell, vice president for Oceana, a Washington-based non-profit. “By taking actions against other countries like China that have a poor labor and environmental record, it levels the playing field and that benefits legal fishermen all over the world.”
The action plan also calls for expansion of the U.S. seafood import monitoring program, which requires importers to provide documentation from the point of catch to insure that illegally caught fish don’t slip into the U.S. Currently, the program only covers about a dozen species. Groups like Oceana have been pushing for the program to cover all imports.
“Until the United States holds all seafood imports to the same standards as U.S.-caught fish, illegally sourced seafood will continue to be sold alongside legal catch,” Lowell said.
The action plan also doesn’t provide any additional resources to enforce laws already on the books.
“Fighting IUU fishing is resource intensive,” said Evan Bloom, a former State Department official who negotiated several international fishing agreements and who now is a senior fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington. “Whether the U.S. really does more may depend on whether NOAA directs more funds to enforcement efforts, intel gathering and inspections.”
In Lisbon, where officials and scientists from more than 120 countries were attending the five-day conference, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized some countries — which he did not identify — for looking out for their own economic interests instead of the needs of the entire planet.
“International waters are ours,” Guterres insisted, referring to all the planet’s inhabitants.
The U.N. is hoping the conference will bring fresh momentum to the protracted efforts for a global ocean agreement that covers conservation efforts on the high seas. Oceans cover some 70% of the earth’s surface and provide food and livelihoods for billions of people. Some activists refer to them as the largest unregulated area on the planet.
What’s known as the Treaty of the High Seas is being negotiated within the framework of the United Convention on the Law of the Sea, the main international agreement governing maritime activities.
After 10 years of talks on the treaty, however, as recently as three months ago, a deal is still not within sight. A fifth round is scheduled for August in New York.
“The world’s largest ecosystem… is still unprotected and is dying as we watch,” the activist group Ocean Rebellion said.
Guterres said “significant progress” has been made toward a deal on a high seas treaty and that the world stands at “a crucial moment” for the future of the oceans.
“We need to make people put pressure on those who decide,” Guterres said, appealing for people to raise their voices and be heard.
Threats to the oceans include warming and acidification from carbon pollution, massive plastics contamination and other problems, the U.N. says. Potentially harmful deep-sea mining also lacks rules.
The conference is also expected to reaffirm and build upon the some 62 commitments made by governments at the previous summit in Nairobi, Kenya in 2018, from protecting small island states with ocean-based economies to sustainable fishing and combatting warming waters.
On the sidelines of the event, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, announced $50 million in new grants to help meet a goal of protecting 30% of the planet’s land and sea by 2030. Currently, less than 8% of the ocean is zoned as marine protected areas.
More than half of the money being donated by the Bezos Earth Fun will support organizations working in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama in strengthening the Eastern Tropical Marine Corridor. The four countries banded together at last year’s U.N. Climate Change conference to announce the creation of a Spain-sized marine protected area containing such environmental hotspots as the Galapagos Islands,
U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and French President Emmanuel Macron are among those attending the event.
Goodman reported from Cleveland, Ohio
Follow all of AP’s climate coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment
Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
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PREVIOUS OPENINGS AND CLOSINGS
· Hunter Pocono Peterbilt plans to move Pocono Township operations to Stroudsburg
· Coal Winery and Kitchen at 81 Broad St., Bethlehem, has closed as its owner searches for a new location for the business, according to its Facebook page.
· Lowhill Township supervisors approved a 312,120-square-foot commercial warehouse and distribution center on a 43.4-acre tract on the west side of Route 100, south of the Kernsville Road intersection.
· The Mint Gastropub at 1223 W. Broad St., Bethlehem, announced that it has temporarily closed to undergo a merger with a “well-known restaurant group” from Bethlehem.
· The Slatington Farmers Market opened its 28,000-square-foot showroom, which includes space for 53 vendors, as well as a 4,000-square-foot event space.
· St. Luke’s University Health Network opened a new pediatric inpatient unit next to the eight-bed pediatric intensive care unit at St. Luke’s University Hospital – Bethlehem.
· 25th Asian House opened at the location of the former Tin Tin Chinese restaurant in the 25th Street Shopping Center in Palmer Township.
· The Chick-Fil-A in Broadcasting Square shopping center in Spring Township was razed to make way for a new, expanded facility for the popular chicken sandwich restaurant.
· Plans for drive-thru locations of a Chipotle and a Starbucks at the intersection of Ivy League Drive and Kutztown Road were rejected by Maxatawny Township planners.
· Cumru Township plannes reviewed preliminary plans for NorthPoint-Morgantown Commerce Center, a 738,720-square-foot warehouse to be built on 75.2 acres at Morgantown Road (State Route 10) and Freemansville Road.
· Kutztown University has plans to expand its historic Poplar House to 13,161 square feet with an addition around its side and back, but keep the 129-year-old structure intact.
· A wine store and beverage outlet could be coming to a new two-unit building along the commercial strip of Blakeslee Boulevard Drive East in Lehighton, Carbon County.
· ChristianaCare, a Delaware health care organization, has announced it will buy the former Jennersville Hospital in West Grove, Chester County.
· Garden of Health Inc. celebrated the opening of the food bank’s new warehouse at 201 Church Road, North Wales, in Montgomery County.
· Silverline Trailers Inc. opened its first location in Pennsylvania and in the Northeast at 223 Porter Road, Pottstown, where it sells utility, cargo, dump, equipment and car hauler trailers.
· A new smoothie and bowl restaurant, Sips & Berries, opened at 285 Maple Ave., Harleysville, in Montgomery County.
· Terrain on the Parkway offers 160 new 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments at 1625 Lehigh Parkway East in Allentown.
· Lehigh Valley native Don Wenner is moving his real estate investment and finance firm DLP Capital from Bethlehem to Allentown at 835 W. Hamilton St.
· While Wells Fargo has been the leader in closing banks lately, it will hold a ribbon-cutting for its new downtown Allentown office at 740 Hamilton St. on June 30.
· If you’re in the market for sterling silver jewelry, minerals and semi-precious gemstones, C& I Minerals is now operating at the South Mall at 3300 Lehigh St. in Allentown.
· The Allentown-based utility company PPL Corp. bought a major Rhode Island utility.
· Ownership at Martellucci’s Pizzeria in Bethlehem has changed, but Paul and Donna Hlavinka and their family are running the pizza place at 1419 Easton Ave., just as it has been operated for 49 years.
· Dr. Jacob Kasprenski’s new Kasprenski Family Eye Care opened at 1088 Howertown Road, Catasauqua.
· Josie’s New York Deli in downtown Easton closed early in the COVID-19 pandemic, but a June 13 Historic District Commission meeting approved a request for a new sign at its building at 14 Centre Square.
· Zekraft cafe has opened its second location in the Easton Silk Mill in Easton. The first Zekraft restaurant was opened in Bethlehem. The restaurants’ menus change frequently, with a focus on local ingredients.
· Manta Massage at 319 Main St., Emmaus, will hold its grand opening on July 10 starting at 11 a.m.
· The former Iron Lakes Country Club, constructed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, will operate at 3625 Shankweiler Road in North Whitehall Township under its new name, The Club at Twin Lakes.
· Prologis, a titan in the logistics industry, will own and operate three warehouses proposed in Upper Macungie Township at the former Air Products headquarters campus at 7201 Hamilton Blvd.
· Lehigh Valley Health Network ceremonially opened its first Carbon County hospital — a $78 million, 100,578-square-foot facility at 2128 Blakeslee Boulevard Drive East in Mahoning Township.
· Pocono Township commissioners voted to accept Swiftwater Solar’s preliminary final plan for the $111 million, 80-megawatt field on a private 644-acre site on top of Bear Mountain that would include about 200,000 solar panels.
· Firetree Ltd. wants to expand its in-patient rehab operation at the former Sands Ford auto dealership at 440 N Claude A Lord Blvd. (Route 61), Pottsville.
· A Dunkin’ in Schuylkill County located at 400 Terry Rich Blvd., St. Clair, has become just the fourth location of the donut and coffee chain to go entirely digital.
· The Conservatory music school in Bucks County will close after 34 years, and school officials say the COVID-19 pandemic is the cause. The nonprofit, located at 4059 Skyron Drive, Doylestown, will close June 30.
· A Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Arby’s will be built on the site of the former Ahart’s Market on Route 22 in Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
· Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce offices and the Unity Bank Center for Business & Entrepreneurship will be located at 119 Main St., Flemington.
· Honeygrow opens Quakertown location, next to Chipotle on Route 309, on June 3.
· Dunkin’ reopens remodeled restaurant at 1174 MacArthur Road in Whitehall Township
· Muse Modern Med Spa at 325 Fifth St. in Whitehall Township will hold a grand opening June 4.
· Around Again, a consignment store, opened at 154 S. Main St., Phillipsburg
· Steak and Steel Hibachi, a restaurant in the works at 44 W. Walnut St., Bethlehem, still plans on opening late this summer.
· Take It Outdoors Recreation Hub has moved to a spot along the Schuylkill River Trail at Riverfront Park in Pottstown, Montgomery County
· Pedego Electric Bikes has a new outlet in Lambertville, N.J. at 13 N. Union St.
· Amanda Vachris has opened a new Keller Williams Real Estate office at 15 St. John St. in Schuylkill Haven.
· Easton’s new West Ward Market will open Wednesday and be open on Wednesday’s through the summer from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The market, created by the Greater Easton Development Partnership, will sell fresh produce on 12th Street, next to Paxinosa Elementary School.
· Ciao Sandwich Shoppe is adding a second location, this time on College Hill in Easton. Ciao plans to open at 325 Cattell St. in late summer. Ciao already operates in downtown Easton at 12 N. Third St
· Ma’s Crepes and Cakes will hold a grand opening and ribbon-cutting June 16 at 46 W. Broadway, Jim Thorpe. The celebration starts at 5 p.m., with the ribbon cutting at 5:45 p.m.
· Bethlehem’s Back Door Bakeshop will reopen as a wholesale operation at 7 E. Church St. in the city’s historic district. The business was open for nine years as a retail outlet at Broad and Center streets, before announcing in March that it would close the storefront April 3 and “go back to its origins as a wholesale business.”
·The Beef Baron on Catasauqua Road in Bethlehem is closed indefinitely for renovations
· The Brothers That Just Do Gutters are opening a new location in Allentown at 1302 N. 18th St.
· St. John Chrysostom Academy, an Orthodox school serving grades 1-9 starting this fall, held a grand opening at its St. Francis Center, Bethlehem, campus.
· Easton Commons, a shopping center anchored by Giant Foods at 2920 Easton Ave., Bethlehem Township, has a new name: The Shops at Bethlehem.
· Carbon County is getting a taste of Brazil at Uai Brasil BBQ at 315 Lehigh Ave. in Palmerton.
· The Keystone Pub in Bethlehem Township, at 3259 Easton Avenue, has reopened after a lengthy and expensive renovation.
· The Trading Post Depot opened at 401 Northampton St., Easton. The rustic furniture store makes custom tables for dining rooms, desktops, conference centers and more.
· The Easton area has a new gym: Homemade Fitness at 444 Cedarville Road in Williams Township.
· Il Gaetano Ristorante opened at its 665 Columbus Ave., Phillipsburg, location.
· Ciao! Sandwich Shoppe to open second location on College Hill in Easton, replacing The Kettle Room
· Rene and Grisellies Benique have opened Ezekiel 47 Cafe at 10 S. Fifth Ave., off Fifth and Penn avenues, in West Reading.
· Alter Ego Salon and Day Spa in Emmaus is holding a grand opening Sunday, May 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at noon.
· Origen Latin Fusion has opened at the site of the former Tomcat Cafe in Sinking Spring, Berks County.
· Sellersville Senior Residences will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 24. The Bucks County affordable-housing community for adults 55 and older has 50 apartments, with eight allocated for people with behavioral health needs.
· The House and Barn in Emmaus has opened its Shed outdoor dining and cigar bar area. The House and Barn is at 1449 Chestnut St. in Emmaus.
· Realtor Amanda Vachris and the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon cutting at Vachris’s new Keller Williams Real Estate office at 15 St. John St., Schuylkill Haven, at 4 p.m. on May 24.
· Il Gaetano Ristorante will hold a grand opening on Friday, May 20, at 5:30 p.m. The 665 Columbus Ave., Phillipsburg.
· First Commonwealth Federal Credit Union will hold a grand opening at its new headquarters in Trexlertown, 6126 Hamilton Blvd., on May 18.
· Vinyl Press Signs & Graphics has relocated within Emmaus. The new site is 15 S. Second St., not far from the former Sixth Street location.
· Pedro’s Cafe in Emmaus to close
· SV Sports (formerly Schuylkill Valley Sports) to close Quakertown location
· Flemington DIY will host a Grand Re-Opening on May 14 at 26 Stangl Road, Flemington. The celebration will kick off at 10 a.m.
· Elpedio’s Ristorante at Seipsville opened at 2912 Old Nazareth Road in Easton. The restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday.
· Uai Brazil opened at 315 Lehigh Ave, Palmerton, offering both a seated or buffet option.
· Colombian Mex Restaurant opened at 107 E Union Blvd in Bethlehem, offering traditional Colombian cuisine.
· Precision Ink opened at 161 W Berwick St. in Easton.
· King Wing opened a location in Bethlehem at 129 E. Third St., serving wings and sandwiches.
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