Chairman Menendez Praises Senate Passage of Four Treaties to Combat Pirate Fishing

Press Contact : 

adam_sharon@foreign.senate.gov


Washington, DC – Yesterday evening, the Senate passed a resolution of ratification for four treaties that will ensure protection for American fishermen, improve marine conservation, and spur more international coordination and communication between coastal countries in controlling illegal or pirate fishing.

“Approving these treaties demonstrates that a bipartisan commitment to protecting our oceans and our fishing industry exists in the U.S. Senate.  It is not only possible, but necessary to put aside extremist politics, engage with the international community, and fulfill our Constitutional duty concerning treaties,” said Chairman Menendez.

The four treaties are:

  • The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, or the Port State Measures Agreement;
  • The Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean;
  • The Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fisheries Resources in the North Pacific Ocean; and
  • An amendment to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries.

The treaty that received the most attention, often referred to as the Port State Measures Agreement, combats illegal fishing by requiring port officials to prohibit foreign vessels that are suspected of illegal activity from unloading their ill-gotten gains.
 
By prohibiting illegal fishing operations from accessing ports around the world, and improving coordination between ports, the treaty should help remove the profit incentive from these activities. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, illegal and unreported fishing annually generates up to $23.5 billion per year, which sets back conservation efforts and disadvantages US fishermen who play by the rules.  Illegal fishing operations have also been reported to participate in other illegal activities, such as drug smuggling and human trafficking.
 
The Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fisheries Resources in the North Pacific Ocean establishes the North Pacific Fisheries Commission, which will adopt and implement conservation and management measures for unregulated fish stocks in the high seas of the North Pacific Ocean, and will monitor effects on vulnerable marine ecosystems.
 
The Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean will establish the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization, which will adopt conservation and management measures to ensure long-term sustainability of fishery resources in the region, protect habitats and marine ecosystems, and develop effective monitoring, compliance and enforcement procedures to prevent pirate fishing.
 
The Amendment to the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries updates the 1979 Convention and brings it in line with modern international fisheries governance, while reforming the budget contribution scheme in a way that is expected to reduce payments by the United States by a substantial margin.

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