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Murkowski Warns Oceans Caucus of the “Great Consequences” Of Illegal Fishing

Discusses “Extraordinarily Important” Legislation with Colleagues, Alaskan Panelists

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski, Co-Chair of the Senate Oceans Caucus today took part in a briefing on Capitol Hill with Senators Dan Inouye (D-HI), Co-Chair Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Mark Begich to discuss the global problem of illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing commonly referred to as IUU or pirate fishing.

“When we have illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing that goes on, we can see great consequences when we do not have the rules in place and when we do not have a level of enforcement,” Murkowski said.

Sen. Murkowski is a lead co-sponsor of the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act, legislation associated with a NOAA/Dept. of State upcoming treaty to require stronger controls on vessels carrying fish into the world’s ports. This bill would also demand strict enforcement including denial of port access for vessels listed for IUU fishing.

“Whether it’s from an economic perspective, a jobs perspective or from an enforcement perspective we have a great deal of work to do, and Sen. Inouye’s leadership on this issue, and the legislation that he has introduced and I have co-sponsored is extraordinarily important,” Murkowski told the panelists.

It is estimated that annual lost revenues from pirate fishing activities can be as much as $23 billion worldwide, with up to 40 percent of the total catch of some fish stocks caught illegally.

Panelists at the briefing included Dr. Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Administrator, Arni Thomson of the United Fisherman of Alaska, Trident Seafood Corporation’s Joe Plesha and State Department officials who shared their expertise on the issue.

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