Check your calendars, folks, that's three days too late to be an April Fool's joke. It's the truth.
Last night, the U.S. Senate ratified FOUR treaties aimed at ending illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing activities in international waters--more colorfully known as "pirate fishing." Last night's quick action was a bit of a departure for a legislative body that has earned a reputation of disfunctionality.
So how did the Senate pull off this sudden shift into high gear? A huge factor was the work of the leaders of the the Senate Ocean Caucus, which is led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
"Congratulations to the U.S. Senate - and the many Senate ocean champions - who led the successful effort to ratify four international fishing treaties that will help protect U.S. fishermen from illegal international fishing pirates," said David Wilmot, PhD., President and Co-Founder of Ocean Champions. "American fishermen, who operate under some of the strictest sustainability standards in the world have long been harmed by pirate fishing which undercuts their prices and leads to global overfishing that threatens global fish populations. Today's action is a huge step toward leveling the playing field for our fishermen and putting a stop to overfishing on the high seas."
The treaties had been signed by Presidents George H. W. Bush and Barack Obama between 2007 and 2012, but still required a Senate vote to be ratified. The action came remarkably quickly after the treaties passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February. This kind of quick action speaks to the value of bipartisan cooperation ocean champions have been famous for, even in light of extreme partisanship on other issues.
"This is another good example of how smart, bi-partisan efforts led by ocean leaders in Congress can get good things done for the oceans," added Wilmot. "Now, on to passing the related legislation, starting with S267 - the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act, and S269, the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act!"
For the oceans,
The Ocean Champions Team
P.S. Your support enables us to fight for sustainable fishing on Capitol Hill. Please consider donating to Ocean Champions today!