Hawaii News U.N. treaty on illicit fishing lauded By Gary T. Kubota July 20, 2014 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Jane Lubchenco Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. The former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said a proposed global treaty could significantly reduce black-market fishing. Jane Lubchenco said the Port State Measures Agreement is a good measure to fight illegal catches worldwide. "I’m very encouraged," Lubchenco said in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser during last week’s 22nd annual Hawai‘i Conservation Conference at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. "And countries are in the process of signing it. I think we’re seeing some good action long overdue." The treaty, adopted in 2009 by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, has been ratified by nine nations, the European Union and the U.S. Senate. An implementation measure accompanying the U.S. Senate’s ratification is being sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. The treaty requires 25 signatories before it goes into effect. The treaty would require those countries signing the agreement to reject port entry of illegal fishing vessels. According to a study by the Pew Trust, illegal and unreported fishing totals an estimated $10 billion to $23.5 billion a year globally. In June, a Chinese fishing vessel was seized by the U.S. Coast Guard on suspicion of using high-seas driftnet and illegally catching a half-ton of salmon in the North Pacific. The ship was later released to Chinese authorities. In 2013, the South Korean-based Dongwon Industries paid a fine of between $1 million and $2 million to the government of Liberia for illegally fishing in the African nation’s waters. Environmentalists say illegal fishing undermines efforts of nations to develop plans for sustainable ocean resources. Lubchenco, who served as NOAA administrator from 2009 to 2013, said the United States has long been a staunch advocate of sustainable use of marine resources and a global leader in tackling the problem of black-market fishing. She said the treaty will dramatically reduce illegal fishing. "It is taking a very significant bite out of legitimate fishing," she said. "This black-market fishing is a very serious problem, and many countries are taking steps to catch the bad guys." Lubchenco said that for a long time, when confronted with illegal fishing globally, people just threw up their hands and would say, "We can’t do anything about it." She said positive action is taking place, including the creation of a new international fisheries crime unit by Interpol. The nine countries that have signed the treaty are New Zealand, Gabon, Oman, Seychelles, Uruguay, Chile, Norway, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Lubchenco is currently a professor of marine studies at Oregon State University in Corvallis. The three-day conference opened Tuesday with the theme "Navigating Change in the Pacific Islands." Previous Story Newswatch Next Story You row girl!