Sen. Sullivan announces legislation targeting illegal foreign fishing

Sen. Dan Sullivan in Anchorage in July 2021. (Photo by Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Sen. Dan Sullivan is introducing legislation that goes after illegal Chinese fishing operations in federal waters off the coast of Alaska. Sullivan announced the Fighting Foreign Illegal Seafood Harvest Act — also known as the FISH Act — on a visit to Kodiak Thursday.

Sullivan says Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island helped author the bill.

“This is a very bipartisan bill, and a very needed bill,” said Sullivan.

The FISH Act directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to compile a list of foreign vessels that have engaged in unsanctioned fishing and ban them from U.S. ports. It also beefs up the Coast Guard’s ability to inspect foreign ships and calls for more regular reports to Congress on illegal fishing activities.

The legislation cites all foreign ships, but Sullivan says it specifically addresses current transgressions by Chinese boats in federal and international waters. He says it was drafted with input from NOAA and officials from the Coast Guard and has broad support in Washington, D.C.

“Senators who are very hawkish against China are focused on this, people who want to keep our fisheries strong and sustainable are focused on this. This unites all different kinds of stakeholder groups,” he said.

Sullivan and Sen. Lisa Murkowski were in Kodiak for a meeting with fisheries managers and officials from NOAA. Members of congress are currently on summer recess, and there is no timeline to vote on the bill.

KMXT - Kodiak

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