Washington, D.C. – Last night, President Obama quietly signed bipartisan fisheries legislation introduced by Alaska Congressman Don Young and Representative Madeline Bordallo (D-Guam) aimed at deterring and eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, also known as “pirate fishing.”
The U.S. Coast Guard in pursuit of a pirate fishing vessel.
Congressman Young, the lead Republican sponsor of the bill and longtime advocate for ocean conservation efforts, offered the following statement after H.R. 774, the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015, became law:
“By giving our U.S. enforcement authorities, including NOAA and the Coast Guard, new tools and resources to deter and punish pirate fishing vessels, we make serious efforts to protect our fishermen from having their fish stolen and their prices undercut, and from having our markets disrupted by illegally caught fish sold on the global market,” said Congressman Young. “While this legislation won’t end the devastating practice of pirate fishing entirely, it makes important steps towards identifying, monitoring, and stopping these criminals from stealing our fish resources and jeopardizing our local fishing communities.This balanced legislation, which includes support from fishermen and conservation groups, represents years of work on behalf of a broad coalition of fishing interests. I commend the bipartisan efforts in both the House and Senate, including support both of our Senators, and look forward to seeing the real world impacts of this much needed legislation.”
H.R. 774 strengthens existing enforcement measures by increasing U.S. capacity for inspection, identification, and monitoring of illegal foreign vessels. The bill amends several international agreements to incorporate civil and criminal penalties against IUU violators, and broadens data sharing authority with foreign governments in order to identify and penalize nations not in compliance with fisheries management regulations. Additionally, the bill implements the Port States Measures Agreement, which places additional controls on foreign vessels seeking entry into U.S. ports to prevent access to U.S. markets.
H.R. 774, the Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015, was introduced by Congressman Don Young and Rep. Madeline Bordallo on February 2, 2015. The bill passed the House on July 27, 2015 and subsequently passed the Senate on October 21, 2015. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan introduced similar legislation to H.R. 774 on May 13, 2015.
For a detailed report on H.R. 774, click here. For Congressman Young’s previous work on H.R. 774, click here. For a statement from the White House on the signing of H.R. 774, click here.