Pirates on the High Seas!

Out on the seas there is a dangerous threat to fishing communities and fish themselves!  That danger is IUU (illegal, unreported, and unregulated) fishing, or pirate fishing!  Pirate fishing also uses un-regulated gear and non-safe fishing practices which can harm the sea floor and other marine creatures such as sea turtles, sharks, and birds.  Specifically pirate fishing occurs when foreign vessels fish inside another country’s waters without permission or they report catching less fish than they actually did; fish in international waters in places, at times, or with fishing gear that is prohibited by regional fishery management bodies; or commit various other fishing-related violations.

Pirate fishing is becoming a large problem not just for the U.S., but for the world.  Worldwide the loss economically from pirate fishing is between $10 billion and $23.5 billion.  This loss of revenues can really affect fishing communities by taking resources unsustainably. 

Source: Deep Sea Conservation Coalition
The highest level of pirate fishing occurs on fish that feed or live near the bottom of the seafloor, lobsters, and shrimps/prawn.   In the international fish trade one in every five fish is caught illegally and it is thought that the U.S. alone imports around $2 billion a year in illegal fish.

On February 11, 2013 there was a bipartisan effort by Senators Rockefeller (D-WV), Murkowski (R-AK), Begich (D-AK), Schatz (D-HI), Cantwell (D-WA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR), Merkley (D-OR), Hirono (D-HI), and Nelson (D-FL) to stop illegal fishing.  They introduced two bills, the Pirate Elimination Act and the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act, S. 1980, to combat pirate fishing.   These two bills were first introduced by the late Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) in 2009.  With your participation we can remember the late Senator by asking congress to pass these bills.

Marine Conservation Institute strongly supports the bipartisan bills to end pirate fishing.  Will you stand up with us and contact your local Member of Congress about supporting the two bills?  We all want healthy oceans for future generations and that includes supporting our local fishing communities and protecting their legacy of fishing.  Please write to your local Member of Congress and tell him/her that you support the passage of the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act and the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act.

Let’s protect our oceans!

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