The USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership works to strengthen regional cooperation to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, promote sustainable fisheries, and conserve marine biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region.


Where can I get more information?

For more information or to get involved in the project, please contact the USAID Oceans team at

What are the goals and objectives of USAID Oceans?

Goal: Increase the ability of regional fishery organizations to conserve marine biodiversity by combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Asia-Pacific region.

1. Develop, demonstrate, and expand a transparent, financially sustainable regional Catch Documentation and Traceability (CDT) system that will ensure fisheries resources are legally and sustainably caught and properly labeled;
2. Strengthen the human and institutional capacity of regional organizations to conserve marine biodiversity and enhance social welfare; and
3. Form new partnerships among governments, regional institutions, and the private sector to enhance sustainable fisheries.

How does USAID Oceans’ CDT System relate to new proposed U.S. seafood import regulations?

USAID Oceans is a related, but separate initiative that will ultimately help countries in Asia to meet requirements established by the U.S. Seafood Traceability Program regulations, which seek to create a risk-based traceability program to track seafood from harvest to entry into the U.S. market. For more information on U.S. regulations, visit the National Oceans Council Committee on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud portal.

How will USAID Oceans’ CDT System relate to:
European Union (EU) catch certification schemes

The Oceans CDT system will be harmonized with EU and U.S. requirements to help industry to be prepared to access EU and U.S. markets. The system will be flexible enough to respond to any future changes in the EU or U.S. regulatory frameworks, without neglecting domestic markets.

The ASEAN Catch Documentation Scheme (ACDS)?

The system will build on the foundation of the ACDS, formulated by Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) Member States, and will also assist SEAFDEC and Coral Triangle Member Countries to implement the ACDS.

Existing anti-IUU efforts in individual countries in the region?

Since the introduction of EU regulations, countries in Asia have intensified their national systems to address IUU fishing, and SEAFDEC has also conducted efforts to support country activities. Oceans will support, align with, and build on national efforts to combat IUU.

Where will the CDT System be implemented?

USAID Oceans has selected two pilot learning sites, focused in the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion, one of the most diverse and productive marine systems in the world. This region encompasses fisheries in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, priority biodiversity areas for USAID. Within this area, USAID Oceans selected General Santos City, Philippines and Bitung, Indonesia as the primary learning sites. These two sites were selected based on range of criteria, including whether the site is inclusive of small- and large-scale operations, is transboundary, is working towards a Sustainable Fisheries Management/anti-IUU plan, is a priority for public and private stakeholders, and is operationally feasible. USAID Oceans’ efforts to develop, test, and implement the CDT System and a Fisheries Information System (FIS) will be focused on tuna fisheries in the learning sites. Expansion sites have been selected for subsequent regional expansion and implementation. Learn more about where USAID Oceans is working.

How does a Sustainable Fisheries Management Plan complement the CDT System?

A Sustainable Fisheries Management Plan, developed using an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management, will leverage the data collected by the CDT System and existing national traceability efforts for enhanced fisheries management that is grounded in current data and engages all involved stakeholders.

How will the CDT System address small-scale fisheries?

The system will be developed to be responsive to both commercial and small-scale fisheries. For the CDT System to be robust, both scales must be covered and their differences accounted for.

How is the private sector involved?

USAID Oceans is engaging the private sector to form new partnerships in the commercial seafood industry, market buyers (including international supermarket chains and exporters), and the technology sector to anchor the Partnership’s efforts in market realities and provide increased scale and sustainability for project investments. Leveraging private sector investment and resources will increase the impact of the CDT System as well as marine conservation efforts in Southeast Asia. Learn more about USAID Ocean’s partners.

Who will maintain the CDT System in the long-term?

As program partner, longstanding institution in Southeast Asia, and champion for catch documentation and traceability, SEAFDEC will maintain the CDT System past the life of the USAID Oceans program. As part of CDT System development, USAID Oceans is working to identify entities that have the ability to support national fisheries agencies in maintaining and financing the CDT System beyond the life of the activity. Long-term financial sustainability may be ensured through user fees from catch buyers and sellers; countries that are interested in using the system to inform fisheries management; as well as funds from enforcement fines.

How will USAID Oceans address human welfare issues?

USAID Oceans has conducted research in the project learning sites to assess human welfare conditions, including gender equality and labor rights. This research will inform key human welfare goals that will help to guide the development of the CDT System and the implementation of SFMPs in the learning sites. The Activity is engaging women’s organizations, conducting an implementation and adoption analysis of standards for tracking fair and legal labor in the fisheries supply chain, and incorporating key data elements into the CDT System’s data collection to support those standards.