On the high seas, the U.S. has all hands on deck. Congress just passed landmark legislation giving the U.S. a formal role in international organizations that govern vastly important areas of the North and South Pacific Ocean, including the high seas adjacent to Alaska and the Pacific Islands and American Samoa, respectively.

Further, sweeping improvements were made to existing international fishery management in the Northwest Atlantic, which includes waters off the coasts of New England and Canada. Collectively, this week’s passage of three major bills demonstrates a renewed commitment to sustainably manage fisheries on the high seas and to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems from the effects of adverse fishing practices.

While the United States has long worked with other nations to improve international fisheries management, the new legislation ensures our country will fully and formally participate in developing standards for best fishing practices in two new international organizations in the North and South Pacific, respectively.

Until now, our status with these organizations has essentially been that of observer. With the new legislation, the U.S. will speak with an active global voice. We have new opportunities to learn, and a proud track record to share and leverage.

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