HR 774: Bill to combat IUU fishing garners bipartisan support
On February 5th, 2015 Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D — GU) and five other members of Congress from both sides of the aisle introduced a new bill (H.R. 774: Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015). If passed, the bill would enhance the enforcement authority of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Coast Guard to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the United States.
The proposed legislation would strengthen and expand the sanctions on countries whose vessels engage in IUU fishing by:
- Increasing capacity for the inspection and monitoring of illegal foreign ships
- Mandating greater data sharing from foreign countries importing seafood to the U.S. as a means for NOAA to identify nations not complying with fisheries management regulations
- Incorporating civil and criminal penalties for those found to be in violation of certain international agreements to which the U.S. is a party
- Implementing the Port State Measures Agreement
H.R. 774 has most recently been referred to the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation where it awaits a vote.
The Port State Measures Agreement goes into effect when 25 nations have ratified it. The ratification count so far is 11. Nations that ratify the PSMA commit to refusing port entry to foreign-flagged vessels known to have engaged in IUU fishing. If vessels suspected of illegally fishing enter ports they will be subject to inspection and the results will be shared with the relevant authorities.
FishWise can help seafood businesses write letters of support for HR 774 or support PSMA ratification by other nations. Please contact us to learn more.