- Polling Issues
Illegal fishing

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for at least 25% of all global catches each year. IUU fishing includes catching undersized fish, fishing in closed waters or taking more fish than allowed. 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 operations. 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, but many others fish without licenses, use illegal fishing gear, conceal their identities and fail to report catches. These distant-water fishing fleets use modern technology to pursue and catch fish in virtually every part of every ocean. These ships 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 call commercial fishing operations “the last buffalo hunt,” with too many fishing boats chasing a dwindling number of fish that have no place to hide.

Our State Dept. reports that China is the world’s worst perpetrator of IUU fishing, operating the largest distant-water fishing fleet of at least 1,600-3,400 ships, and perhaps many more. It noted a significant increase in illegal fishing by Chinese-flagged vessels within the exclusive economic zones of other countries in almost every region of the world. Advocates say the Chinese ships are taking advantage of weak enforcement and supervision from local and Chinese authorities - to the detriment of local fishermen and the environment. Many millions of people throughout the world depend on fisheries for employment, sustenance and recreation. Advocates say 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.

The Biden administration recently announced sanctions against 170 Chinese entities for illegal fishing in the Pacific amid concerns that China is over-fishing and using its fishing fleet to expand Beijing's maritime influence.

Proposed Legislation: Reintroduction of H.R.3075 - Illegal Fishing and Forced Labor Prevention Act (117th Congress 2021-2022)

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Poll Opening Date
March 13, 2023
Poll Closing Date
March 19, 2023

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