Hy-Vee Supports Strengthening U.S. Leadership in the Fight against Illegal Fishing

Hy-Vee understands the need for leadership in ensuring environmentally responsible and traceable seafood. That is why Hy-Vee has sent letters to Congress members urging them to pass legislation that will tackle the problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

IUU is a global problem that threatens the health of marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of U.S. fishers. Illegal fishing harms the marine environment by contributing heavily to diminishing fish stocks. It also undermines law-abiding fishers in the United States by distorting the market with illegally caught imports. Additionally, human rights concerns like human trafficking and forced labor have been linked to illegal fishing. Illegal fishing is not a small problem; authors of a recent study estimated that 13% – 31% of wild-caught seafood entering the United States is illegal1.

The Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2013 (H.R. 69) and the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act (S.267) are two bills waiting for a vote from representatives in the House and Senate, respectively. Both pieces of legislation have broad support from seafood industry groups, environmental groups and government agencies.

Hy-Vee urges Congress to take action to end illegal fishing and strengthen the nation’s leadership on this issue. This is an important step toward ensuring our U.S. seafood marketplace is composed of safe, legal and responsible seafood and that illegal fishing is reduced in the waters around the world.


1Agnew, David J. et al, “Estimating the worldwide extent of illegal fishing.” PLoS One 4.2 (2009): 34570.

Author: Kathleen Mullen-Ley

My name is Kathleen Mullen-Ley, and I am a project manager for FishWise. FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy, has been working with Hy-Vee to research and recommend seafood product sourcing, develop and implement Hy-Vee's Responsible Choice Seafood materials and staff training, and analyze data to measure progress towards Hy-Vee's 2015 Commitment. I hold a master’s degree in marine biodiversity and conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from the University of California Santa Cruz. My graduate research project was an analysis of the World Trade Organization ruling on the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna label and its implications for future market-based marine conservation efforts. My experience analyzing fishery management issues and communicating marine science to diverse audiences combined with my respect for ocean life has made me well-prepared to take on the challenges of sustainable seafood.