Senators Sullivan, Schatz Work to Pass International Fisheries Bills out of Commerce Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved several bills, including a group of international fisheries bills championed by U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI).  These include S. 1334, the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act; S. 1335, the North Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act; and S. 1336, the South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act.

“I am pleased to have worked with my fellow Commerce Committee member Senator Schatz on these important international fisheries bills -- and continue the bipartisan tradition that began under the leadership of the late Senators Ted Stevens and Daniel Inouye,” said Senator Sullivan. “Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing is a global problem that has estimated economic costs of up to $23 billion annually.  In Alaska, our iconic crab industry has led the fight against IUU fishing, because of the damaging affects these criminal activities have had on their industry, but many other fisheries are also impacted both in Alaska and nationwide.  The increased and streamlined enforcement tools provided in S. 1334 will assist the Coast Guard and NOAA in curbing this criminal activity that threatens our domestic fishermen by endangering the health of our fisheries resources and distorting our markets.”

“I thank Senator Sullivan for his work to combat pirate fishing,” said Senator Schatz.  “Pirate fishing damages the environment and harms U.S. fishermen. With these bills, the Senate Commerce Committee has taken a strong bipartisan position to stand up against fishing vessels who break international law, and to refuse them access to U.S. ports and markets.  U.S. fisheries are the best managed in the world, and our bills empower U.S. negotiators to press other nations to come up to our standards.” 

“The North Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act and the South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act will rightfully give the United States a voice and assert our influence in both the fisheries management and conservation decisions in the respective high seas areas of the Pacific Ocean 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.”

S. 1334, which is sponsored by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and also co-sponsored by Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Ed Markey (D-MA), would implement the Port States Measures Agreement, and will increase enforcement capabilities of NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard to combat IUU fishing throughout the United States.  S. 1335, the North Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act, and S. 1336, the South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act, would implement treaties ratified by the Senate last year to manage certain North and South Pacific fisheries.  Together, the three bills strengthen the international framework for keeping fisheries healthy, so that U.S. fishermen will always be a vibrant part of the coastal economy.