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Ocean conservation group Oceana threw its support behind U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., and two new laws he has proposed to fight pirate fishing and keep illegally-caught fish out of U.S. markets.

The proposed laws, the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act, and the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act, would create harsher penalties for mislabeling of seafood, set up a tracking and monitoring system for illegal fishing vessels, and other provisions.

“Illegal fishing costs us billions of dollars each year around the world and can have real, harmful impacts on the health of our marine ecosystems,” said Beth Lowell, Oceana campaign director. “Unfortunately, the United States has become an easy target for pirate fishers dumping illegal product due to poor import controls and the lack of a nationwide seafood traceability system.”

Oceana also credited the bills’ co-sponsors, Sens. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii and Bill Nelson, D-Fla.


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