WASHINGTON (CN) – As part of an international effort to crack down on rogue fishing, the National Marine Fisheries Service plans to adopt measures to deny port privileges to fishing boats whose crews engage in illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
The U.S. is a member of several regional fishery management organizations that maintain lists of rogue fishing vessels and encourage member nations to restrict entry of these vessels into their ports. The organizations include the International Commission for the Conservation of Tunas, the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. There are about 90 vessels listed for illegal fishing by various fishery management organizations.
The Nicholson Act already prohibits foreign vessels from unloading fish and fish product that were harvested or taken onboard on the “high seas” in any U.S. port, with a few exceptions in the U.S. territories of the South Pacific. U.S. flagged vessels would not be denied entry to U.S. ports, since they are subject to domestic law.
The agency proposes to allow the Assistant Administrator of the Fisheries Service to conduct inspections of any listed vessel that requests entry to a U.S. port, and to deny the vessel port service such as refueling, resupplying, landing or taking on crew. The Assistant Administrator also would be authorized to prohibit listed vessels from conducting commercial transactions, including, transshipping and landing product.
Comments on the agency’s proposal must be received by the agency by Feb. 25.
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