Pirate Fishing Bill Moves to Senate Floor

Legislation to end the multi-billion dollar practice of pirate
fishing is headed for the Senate floor, while another measure dealing with
genetically engineered salmon has been dropped for now, in hope of stronger
support in the future.
The Pirate Fishing Elimination Act, which passed the Senate Commerce
Committee on July 31, is sponsored by Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii.
“Pirate fishing is a multi-billion dollar industry that mocks law for
fisheries conservation and seafood safety, hurts legitimate fishermen in the
marketplace, and at its worst, even holds its workers as slaves,” Sen. Mark Begich,
D-Alaska, a co-sponsor of the pirate fishing bill. “This legislation is a
serious way to fight back.”
S. 1980 enacts measures included in a 2009 international agreement
on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing to deny known pirate boats
access to ports to offload their catch. It also makes it illegal to knowingly
import, export or buy or sell fish caught in violation of marine laws and
treaties, or to interfere with or bribe inspectors, and gives the Secretary of
Commerce power to enforce those measures through arrests, citations and civil and
criminal penalties.
Begich said legislation on genetically engineered salmon – the Frankenfish
measure – was pulled when it appeared to be one vote shy of passage, but a
third bill supporting the NOAA Corps also was headed for the Senate floor.
S. 1717, an act for the Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered
Salmon in the United States, would have prohibited sale of such fish unless the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that production of those
fish would have no significant impact or were found to be consistent with the
National Environmental Protection Act.
The federal Food and Drug Amendments Act of 2006 called for a report
on any environmental risks associated with genetically engineered seafood
production, including impact on wild stocks, but to date the FDA has not
provided such a report. The Senate committee also passed S. 2388, the NOAA
Corps Amendments Act of 2012, sponsored by Begich, to give the corps tools to
streamline personnel practices, improve its diversity and retain senior female
officers. The bill also creates new incentive programs, to be paid for by
savings in other sections of the bill.