WASHINGTON -- A bill aimed at taking down “pirate” fishing by keeping illegally caught fish out of U.S. ports is headed for President Barack Obama’s signature.
The Senate late Wednesday passed a bill aimed at giving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Coast Guard greater enforcement capabilities to combat illegal and unregulated fishing, a multibillion-dollar problem for Alaska and the U.S. fishing industry.
The bill, which brings together such unlikely bedfellows as Republican lawmakers and Greenpeace, passed the Senate by a unanimous vote. The House passed the same legislation in July.
The bill has the backing of the White House, which determined in 2014 that new legislation was needed to implement a port agreement requiring member countries to reject ships that have illegal product onboard. The European Union, Australia, Chile and New Zealand have signed on, among other countries. Ten more are needed to reach the 25 required before the agreement takes effect, according to environmental group Oceana.
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