U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Thursday announced that the Senate has approved four treaties to combat illegal pirate fishing. The treaties would help protect American fishermen who are being put at a competitive disadvantage by illegal, unreported, and unregulated (I.U.U.) fishing practices. The measures now await President Obama’s signature.
“Pirate fishing is a global problem with very local consequences,” Wicker said. “Mississippi is home to many hardworking fishing communities that depend on the ocean for their livelihoods. Ratifying these treaties show that the United States is committed to enforcing fisheries laws and protecting American workers.”
Estimates show that I.U.U. fishing costs as much as $23 billion a year globally and poses a serious threat to the sustainability of marine habitats. In some parts of the world, it accounts for up to 40 percent of the wild marine fish caught.
“International cooperation and standards are needed to protect our local commerce and environment,” Wicker continued. “These treaties would also safeguard seafood buyers and consumers by preventing fish harvested illegally from entering our ports and diluting the market with fraudulent products.”
The four treaty agreements passed by the Senate include:
·Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries;
·Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean;
·Convention on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fisheries Resources in the North Pacific Ocean; and
·Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing.
Mississippi is the sixth largest seafood producing state in the country in terms of pounds of seafood harvested and second to Louisiana in the Gulf. Nationally, commercial and recreational fishing industries are responsible for 1.7 million American jobs and countless more at docks and facilities for processing and distribution.