NOAA Legislation Would Protect US Fishermen From Pirates

Sen. Daniel Innoye, D-Hawaii, has introduced legislation in Congress to stop pirate fishing vessels from unloading their illegally caught seafood at ports in the United States. The administration bill, which implements an international agreement the United States helped negotiate, would benefit American fishermen, seafood buyers and consumers by keeping illegal seafood out of global trade. Co-sponsors of the legislation include Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

The pirate fishing practices are also referred to as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Announcement of the new legislation came from NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, who said illegal fishing undermines fishermen in the United States and other nations who fish sustainably and legally. These illegal practices also can result in devastating fish stocks and ocean ecosystems, Lubchenco said.

“As one of the top importers of seafood globally, the US is committed to combatting illegal fishing and ensuring a level playing field for our fishermen,” she said. “The international agreement and this bill will close the world’s ports to illegal fishing.”

The legislation is rooted in the first binding global agreement to focus on combatting these illegal fishing practices, the agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing. NOAA officials said this international accord is recognized globally as a landmark agreement.