Washington, D.C. – With the leadership of House Oceans Caucus Co-Chair Congressman Don Young, the House Natural Resources Committee today reported legislation to the full House that would impose added sanctions on vessels engaging in Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU).
“We have worked extremely hard over the years to eliminate and deter pirate vessels from stealing our resources and harming our economies,” said Congressman Don Young. “Today, the House Natural Resources Committee took a significant step to give our authorities the tools to fight back against these criminals and ensure that millions of pounds of illegally caught product never reach the global market.”
Coast Guard Cutter Rush escorting suspected high seas drift net fishing vessel Da Cheng in the North Pacific Ocean in 2012.
H.R. 69, the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2013, introduced by Congresswoman Bordallo (D-Guam), would strengthen existing enforcement sanctions by revising violations, penalties, permit requirements, and port privileges. The legislation would also create additional enforcement measures for the search and inspection of processing facilities, records and shipments, in addition to developing a list of vessels engaged in IUU fishing and taking action against them.
Included in H.R. 69 is an amendment Congressman Young helped craft and push through the Natural Resources Committee process. The amendment – the Port States Measures Agreement Act of 2014 – would implement the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, negotiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2009.
The legislation would implement the Agreement and would work to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing by placing additional controls on foreign vessels seeking entry into U.S. ports, effectively eliminating IUU fishermen from accessing our markets.
Similar legislation to H.R. 69 passed the House during the 111th Congress; however, no action was ever taken by the Senate. Legislation in the 112th Congress was reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources, however; action was not taken by the full House.
Congressman Young has been a strong advocate for ocean conservation efforts, including numerous actions against IUU fishing. He has served as Co-Chairman of the House Oceans Caucus since 2013.