Congress Joins Fight Against Illegal Fishing
Press Release Date: February 11, 2013
Location: Washington, D.C.
Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, commends Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) today for introducing two bills aimed at strengthening efforts to fight pirate fishing and help keep illegally-caught fish out of U.S. markets. Oceana now calls on Congress to move this legislation forward and help protect American fishermen and seafood consumers.
If passed, the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act and the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act would improve critical government resources aimed at fighting pirate fishing. This includes establishing a system to track and monitor illegal fishing vessels, as well as creating harsher penalties for the mislabeling of seafood and the sale and trade of illegal products. Oceana campaign director Beth Lowell issued the following statement about the bills’ introduction today:
“Pirate fishers commonly dodge the law by fishing in closed areas or during prohibited times, often catching threatened species and using illegal gear. This behavior not only hurts law-abiding fishermen, but it also rips off seafood consumers and adds to the overexploitation of our oceans.
Illegal fishing costs us billions of dollars each year around the world and can have real, harmful impacts on the health of our marine ecosystems. Unfortunately, the United States has become an easy target for pirate fishers dumping illegal product due to poor import controls and the lack of a nationwide seafood traceability system.
Oceana commends policymakers for introducing these important bills, which mark a great step forward in protecting honest fishermen, ocean ecosystems and consumers who wish to make responsible seafood choices.”
Oceana also applauds Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) for co-sponsoring these important bills.
For more information on Oceana’s work to stop illegal fishing, 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.