This report is prepared by the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC or Commission) in response to a request by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means (Committee) for the Commission to investigate and prepare a report on the potential economic effects on U.S. fishers of competition with IUU seafood imports. In the request, the Committee defined IUU seafood to include products obtained in contravention of fisheries management regulations or in violation of labor laws, so for the purposes of this investigation IUU fishing is defined as such.

There are many fishing practices that can constitute an IUU violation. Often, a vessel may fish in an area where it is not authorized. Vessels may also fish during seasons in which particular fishing grounds are closed. IUU fishing also includes harvesting in excess of quotas set by fishery management authorities or misreporting the volume of landings to those authorities. Fishing with disallowed gear types or methods, or in violation of environmental restrictions such as those concerning bycatch, also constitute IUU fishing. Labor violations that have been widely documented in segments of the fishing industry include forced labor, human trafficking, child labor, and physical abuse of workers on board fishing vessels.