U.S. Senate Passes Ensuring Access to Fisheries Act

December 16, 2016, 7:45 AM HST
* Updated December 14, 6:52 PM
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Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Ensuring Access to Fisheries Act.

The bipartisan legislation, introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), will implement treaties ratified by the Senate last year to better manage certain fisheries in the North and South Pacific, and to improve international fisheries management in the North Atlantic.

Sen. Schatz of Hawai‘i helped implement a legislation that would help manage certain fisheries in the North and South Pacific, and to improve international fisheries management in the North Atlantic. Photo Courtesy

“Nations around the world look to the United States for leadership on how to manage fisheries,” said Senator Schatz. “Our legislation brings the remaining Pacific fisheries under international management, and establishes penalties for fishing illegally. By working together with foreign countries, we can establish global management plans that will keep our oceans healthy and productive for ourselves today, and for the generations that follow. I want to thank Senator Sullivan and Senator Markey for their commitment to keeping world fisheries healthy.”

“This legislation will rightfully give the United States a voice and assert our influence in both the fisheries management and conservation decisions in the high seas areas covered by these treaties,” said Senator Sullivan. “Doing so will provide opportunities for our fishermen in the future, and help to protect their current activities for generations to come.”

“Fish do not follow political boundary lines on a map,” said Senator Markey. “International cooperation is essential to ensure healthy fishery resources in the North Atlantic and across the globe. I thank Senators Schatz and Sullivan for their partnership on this legislation and look forward to the President signing it into law.”


With other existing treaties, this bill would bring all high seas fisheries in the Pacific Ocean under international management bodies to ensure access for U.S. fishermen, and responsible management of ocean resources.


The bill will also implement updates to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Convention to better manage international North Atlantic fisheries.

The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

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