Jan 152015
 

Fish or animals that are accidentally caught in commercial fishing operations are called bycatch. These dead or dying creatures are usually discarded overboard. Fisheries now throw away more than 20% of all the fish they catch. This translates into more than 2 billion tons of edible fish and drowned animals each year. It has recently been reported that 9 American fisheries, which produce just 7% of the fish sold here, are responsible for more than half of America’s bycatch. Some of these companies throw away as much as 66% of their catch, wasting this precious ocean resource. Fishing bycatch often includes young sharks, striped bass, swordfish, lingcod and halibut as well as animals such as dolphins, whales and seabirds. Marine advocates say the loss of young fish greatly limits the ability of a species to breed successfully. Bycatch often results from long-line and drag-net fishing methods and wastes food that tuna, salmon, sea lions and others depend upon for survival. It is estimated that about 1,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises drown each day after becoming entangled in nets and other fishing gear. Nearly 20% of all shark species are facing extinction from inadvertent long-line capture and as many as 250,000 unwanted loggerhead and leatherback turtles are also killed this way each year. Advocates say these commercial fishing practices are not sustainable and that we are endangering the health of our oceans.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current bycatch fishing policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to reduce fishing bycatch and prohibiting fisheries from wasting more than 20% of their catch, with enforcement provided by onboard observers and sharply escalating penalties for repeat offenders

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Illegal, unregulated or unreported (IUU) fishing now accounts for about 20% of all marine fish caught and at least a quarter of all fish caught. IUU fishing includes catching undersized fish, fishing in closed waters or taking more fish than allowed. Most coastal nations have exclusive economic zones in which offshore fishing is prohibited. International agreements also prohibit the fishing of protected species on the high seas. However, advocates say there is little enforcement or punishment for illegal fishing. Much of the damage to fisheries is caused by fleets of large international commercial fishing trawlers. Advocates say most of these large fishing operations abide by the law. That said, many others fish without licenses, use illegal fishing gear, conceal their identities and fail to report catches. Fishing fleets now use modern technology to pursue and catch fish in virtually every part of every ocean. These fleets offload their catch onto large processing vessels which process, freeze and transport huge quantities of fish, allowing trawlers to continue fishing nearly non-stop. Some now call commercial fishing operations “the last buffalo hunt,” with too many fishing boats chasing a dwindling number of fish which have no place to hide. Many millions of people throughout the world depend on fisheries for employment, sustenance and recreation. Advocates say that if there is to be enough fish for current and future generations, everyone involved in fishing must help conserve and manage the world’s fisheries at sustainable levels.

Pending Legislation:

S.269 – International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act

H.R.69 – Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current illegal fishing policy and wish to defeat S.269 & H.R.69

I support reducing illegal fishing by directing the Coast Guard to enforce laws concerning fisheries and fish products by: providing additional authority for searches, inspections, shipment detentions, arrests and subpoenas; identifying vessels, vessel owners, and nations that are engaged or have been engaged during the preceding three years in illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing, or that have violated related conservation and management measures; taking appropriate action against such vessels and vessel owners in accordance with U.S. and international law; establishing an interagency International Fisheries Enforcement Task Force, through the National Marine Fisheries Service, to investigate illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing activity and trafficking and to enforce the provisions of this Act, and wish to pass S.269 & H.R.69

 Posted by at 12:00 am

LONGLINE FISHING Many shark, swordfish and tuna populations are approaching, or have already reached, unsustainable levels. Much of this decline has been attributed to the advent of longline fishing. Perfected by the Japanese, this method uses up to 60 miles of fishing lines with thousands of baited hooks that are trailed behind a single boat. During the first decade of longline fishing, catches declined from about 10 fish per hundred hooks to just one per hundred. Studies have concluded that at least 80% of each of the world’s large ocean species including cod, halibut, tuna, swordfish and marlin has disappeared from the world’s oceans since 1950. Research has found that commercial fishing has become so efficient that it typically takes just 15-20 years to remove 80% or more of any species unlucky enough to become the focus of a fishing fleet’s attention. Tuna populations have taken the brunt of commercial overfishing. The Atlantic bluefin tuna population has decreased about 40% over the past 25 years. The latest assessment of the Pacific bluefin tuna, long thought to have healthy population numbers, has now been estimated to have declined more than 95% due to overfishing. It appears that for many years, the Japanese fishing industry has been greatly underreporting its Pacific bluefin tuna catch, thus enabling it continue catching these fish that are so popular in sushi and sashimi restaurants. Most tuna that are now caught are juveniles not old enough to have reproduced. Pending Legislation: H.R.1024 – To establish in the National Marine Fisheries Service a pelagic longline highly migratory species bycatch and mortality reduction research program, and for other purposes (108th Congress 2003-2004) NATURAL RESOURCES FISHING

Jan 152015
 

Our coastal fishing industry is greatly suffering from declining groundfish populations and reduced catch quotas. Canada has banned rockfishing in Newfoundland and Quebec due to the collapse of rockfish stocks. Rockfish species, also known as groundfish, include cod, hake and flounder. These bottom-dwelling fish are slow growing, reproduce sporadically and can live 100 years. In 2000, Pacific coast rockfish landings were less than 40,000 tons, about half the 20-year average of 75,000 tons. Our Commerce Department then pronounced the groundfish industry a “fisheries failure” and initiated programs to purchase fishing boats and buy back fishing permits. This successful program reduced our rockfishing fleet by nearly 50%. Commercial rockfishing has also been banned in many areas. The reasons for the decline of rockfish species include overfishing, warmer ocean temperatures and recent revelations that groundfish reproduce much slower than previously thought.

Pending Legislation:

S.1275 & H.R.2646 – REFI Pacific Act

I oppose reforming current rockfishing policy and wish to defeat S.1275 & H.R.2646

I support directing the Secretary of Commerce to issue a loan to refinance the existing debt obligation funding the fishing capacity reduction program for the West Coast groundfish fishery implemented under the Department of Commerce and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2003; prohibiting the fee with respect to such loan from exceeding 3% of the ex-vessel value of the harvest from each fishery for which the loan is issued; setting forth requirements for direct loan interest rates, subloans, and the calculation of the ex-vessel landing fee to be collected for payment of such loan, and wish to pass S.1275 & H.R.2646

 Posted by at 12:00 am