WASHINGTON- Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, is calling on Congress to end illegal fishing by passing H.R. 4100, a bill that would provide the United States with critical tools to monitor and track illegal fishing vessels, penalize violators and prohibit the mislabeling of seafood. Together, these measures will help prevent illegal fish from entering the U.S. market.
Oceana issued the following statement of support from campaign director Beth Lowell surrounding the bill’s hearing today before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs:
“Illegal, or pirate, fishing not only hurts our oceans, but it hurts honest fishermen and seafood consumers. Pirate fishers will use illegal gear, fish in prohibited areas or during closed times, or catch threatened and endangered species. Because their activities are unreported, it’s impossible to know the true impact they’re having on our oceans.
Law-abiding fishermen deserve to compete on an even playing field, and consumers should have the ability to make informed choices when buying seafood. Pirate fishing amounts to billions of dollars in lost revenue each year in the global marketplace, hurts law-abiding fishermen and wreaks havoc on our ocean ecosystems.
Due to poor import controls and lack of a traceability system, the U.S. has become an easy target for dumping illegal seafood. Consumers then often unknowingly purchase this illegally caught seafood, despite efforts to make responsible choices. This bill will give the U.S. the ability to better identify and penalize pirate fishers, as well as prohibit the mislabeling of seafood. These are important tools that will help keep illegal fish out of the U.S. market. We urge Congress to make this bill a priority and send the message that fraud of any kind is wrong and must be stopped.”
Oceana thanks Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam) for introducing this important legislation, as well as cosponsors Frank Guinta (R-NH), Sam Farr (D- CA), Gregorio Kilili Sablan (D-MP), Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), Eni Faleomavaega (D-AS), Donna Christensen (D-VI) and Lois Capps (D-CA).
For more information on Oceana’s campaign to stop seafood fraud, click here.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.