Senate Passes Sullivan-Schatz-Markey International Fisheries Bill

Bipartisan Legislation Will Implement Pacific and Atlantic Fisheries Treaties

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed S.1335, the Ensuring Access to Fisheries Act. The bipartisan legislation, introduced by U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), will implement treaties ratified by the Senate last year to better manage certain fisheries in the North and South Pacific and the North Atlantic.

“The Ensuring Access to Fisheries Act will rightfully give the United States a voice and assert our influence in both the fisheries management and conservation decisions in the high seas areas covered by these treaties,” said Senator Sullivan.  “Doing so will provide opportunities for our fishermen in the future, and help to protect their current activities for generations to come.”

“I thank Senator Sullivan and Senator Markey for their work to bring our oceans into international conservation and management,” said Senator Schatz.  “With the parts of this legislation that Senator Sullivan and I drafted, we have brought the remaining Pacific fisheries under international management.  Our legislation gives the U.S. an opportunity to ensure that our oceans are managed sustainably now and for the future.”

“Fish do not follow political boundary lines on a map,” said Senator Markey. “International cooperation is essential to ensure healthy fishery resources in the North Atlantic and across the globe. I thank Senators Schatz and Sullivan for their partnership on this effort and look forward to getting this legislation signed by the President.” 

Together with other existing treaties S.1335 would bring all high seas fisheries in the Pacific Ocean under international management bodies to ensure access for U.S. fishermen, and responsible management of ocean resources. The bill will also implement updates to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention to better manage international North Atlantic fisheries.

To streamline consideration, Senators Markey and Schatz combined their fisheries legislation—S. 1251, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention Amendments Act, and S. S. 1336, the South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act.