Bill Cracking Down on Pirate Fishing Passes Congress

A measure cracking down on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is expected to be signed into law. Photo via NOAA Fisheries.

A maritime security proposal within the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act has now cleared Congress and is expected to be signed into law by President Biden.

The proposal, as amended by Senators Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, requires the Secretary of the Navy to produce a report on maritime security measures related to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The amendment also requires the U.S. Navy to share information about steps taken to support the dissemination of unclassified information and data to regional partners, best practices learned from public-private and any new authorities or capabilities needed to support counter-IUU efforts in order to guide future legislative efforts.

The senators noted that IUU fisheries annually produce from 11 million to 26 million tons of seafood, resulting in global economic losses valued at between $10 billion and $23 billion.

The provision, according to Sullivan, would help protect America’s fishing fleet and the global seafood industry against such IUU practices.

Whitehouse championed provisions in the previous defense legislation that required the Defense Department to update Congress on previously enacted measures to combat IUU fishing and directed the Navy to work with the Coast Guard to assess solutions for tracking vessels engaged in unlawful activity at sea.