Pacific Fisheries Act Signed Into Law

President Obama has signed into law H.R. 6452, the Ensuring Access to Pacific Fisheries Act. The bill implements the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fisheries Resources in the North Pacific Ocean, the Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean, and amendments to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries.

In signing the legislation this past week, Obama urged the US Senate to ratify all of these treaties to help promote sound fishery management, and to better combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.

The bill provides that the US will be represented on the North Pacific Fisheries Commission by five commissioners, two appointed by the president, plus three chairpersons of the North Pacific, Pacific and Western Pacific fisher management councils, who are selected by members of those councils.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats, and Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska. Together with other existing treaties this bill will bring all high seas fisheries in the Pacific Ocean under international management bodies to ensure access for US fishermen and responsible management of ocean resources, the senators said.