Pirate fishing targeted in Congress
November 3, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Alaska leads the push to crush seafood pirates. More after this –
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Congress is set to act on a measure aimed at stopping fish pirates from dumping millions of tons of illegally caught fish and shellfish in world markets. For decades, no fishery has been pinched harder than Bering Sea king crab, which last year alone went up against 100 million pounds of pirated crab from Russia. Now, an international Port State Measures Agreement would cut into cut into the illegal market deliveries.
Essentially the PSMA relies on the principle that all fish and shellfish must be landed at some port in order to enter into trade.
Mark Gleason is director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, a harvester trade group. The international Port Measure is part of the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act negotiated by the UN and Food and Agriculture Organization in 2009. It would strengthen port inspections and toughen standards for foreign flagged vessels and prevent illegal products from entering world markets.
Alaska Senator Mark Begich – As chair of the US Coast Guard Committee I’m very excited about this – it puts teeth in it and creates international implementation for our treaty and stops these pirates that are stealing our fish and gives more power as its being moved from country to country.
The Pirate Fishing and Port measures have been languishing in various committees for years, but there is a good chance it willmake it through Congress this session. Mark Gleason –
We’ve already signed the PSMA agreement, the Senate has agreed to ratify it, the final step is to get this implementing legislation passed. My hope is that we will get the legislation passed and signed into law before the end of the year and the current Congress adjourns.
Senator Begich –
I believe one of two things will happen – will pass it separately or fold it in as part of the USCGG reauthorization act.
Mark Gleason credits the Alaska delegation for strongly backing the anti-pirate measures.
If it was left entirely to the Alaska delegation, it would be a slam dunk. Senators Murkowski, Begich and Congressman Young have been unbelievably supportive of this legislation, of the agreement and certainly of Alaskan crabbers. Unfortunately it is not left up to them alone. 7
Senator Begich calls it another example of working across the aisle in Congress to get things done for Alaska and US fishermen.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 104 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.