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senate Bill S. 1336

Should the South Pacific Fisheries Convention Be Implemented?

Argument in favor

The international fisheries convention that this bill implements will make it easier for the U.S. to sustainably manage the fisheries of the South Pacific, and deter illegal fishing by foreign countries.

Alis's Opinion
The con argument sounds like: if everything is not completely predictable & the U.S. isn't in total control, we can't risk any action. (This sounds like toddler's logic.) It is counterproductive to not be willing to work with other countries. Although it does seem that conservatives are so risk-averse that we will all have to move off planet to make them feel safe enough to participate in reality!
Like (5)
John's Opinion
An international treaty to prevent over fishing sounds to me like a good thing that needs to be implemented in other places as well.
Like (2)
Henry's Opinion
Yes we need to stop fishing, allow the ocean to recover. And to start cleaning up the oceans rather than fishing them.
Like (2)

Argument opposed

While its objectives are worthwhile, there’s ample reason for skepticism as to whether an agreement that asks a country like China to play by the rules can be successful.

John's Opinion
NO NO NO. Japan is not one of the countries that has signed on to the treaty?!?! Without the worlds most ruthless fishing country on board, it is nothing but a waste of ink and money!! WE ARE 18 TRILLION IN DEBT. STOP SPENDING NOW!!!
Like (3)
operaman's Opinion
Great idea. Won't work. Countries gota eat. Even if China signed on, their fishing fleet will ignore the rules.
Like (2)
resistor's Opinion
We cannot afford to add bureaucracy to our already bloated, over-bearing government.
Like (1)

What is Senate Bill S. 1336?

This bill would implement the South Pacific Fisheries Convention, which is a treaty that seeks to strengthen the role of the U.S. in managing the fisheries of the South Pacific.

The South Pacific Fisheries Convention was ratified by the Senate in 2014, and puts in place safeguards against overfishing in the South Pacific that aren’t covered by existing international fisheries agreements. The easternmost point of the convention area is the waters off the western coast of South America, while its westernmost point is near western Australia. The convention area’s northernmost point is south of Hawaii, and its southernmost point is the expanse of water between Cape Horn and southern New Zealand near Antarctica.

It would be illegal to violate provisions of the Convention by committing any of the following actions:

  • Fishing without a permit, or refusing to allow an inspection of a fishing vessel;

  • Impeding an officer during the search, or resisting arrest;

  • Transporting, selling, buying, possessing, or transferring fisheries resources taken in violation of the Convention;

  • Violating any fishing regulation adopted under this legislation;

  • Failing to provide accurate information about fish harvested and provided to processors;

  • Failing to make, keep, or furnish catch returns and statistical records.

An exclusive economic zone notification would go out to all fishing vessels from countries participating in the Convention when they enter U.S. territorial waters. This would allow the U.S. Coast Guard to determine their destination, and the circumstances surrounding their presence in U.S. waters. Such a vessel would be required to stow all gear used for fishing activities where it isn’t readily available to be used for fishing, and allow an inspection to occur if one is requested.

In order to enforce the Convention, the South Pacific Fisheries Commission would be established with the other participating nations. Three U.S. commissioners would be appointed by the president, including at least one who works for the Dept. of Commerce, the Dept. of State, or the U.S. Coast Guard.

An 11 member advisory committee would be appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to examine proposals, programs, investigations, reports, recommendations, and regulations put forward by the commissioners. Members of the committee could serve up to three consecutive two year terms. and would be unpaid.

Specific responsibilities would be delegated to the Secretaries of State and Commerce, who would respond to proposals, decisions, and rules produced by the commission. The Dept. of Commerce would develop and enforce regulations in cooperation with the South Pacific Fisheries Commission, and the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council.

U.S. territories — specifically the Northern Mariana Islands — would be empowered to be involved in the process of implementing the Convention to a similar degree that other member nation's territories participate.


Fishermen and businesses involved in the fishing industry, the Coast Guard, the Depts. of Commerce and State, members of the advisory committee and members of the South Pacific Fisheries Convention, and the Secretaries of Commerce and State.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1336

$500.00 Thousand
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost less than $500,000 per year over the 2016-2020 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) praised this legislation for protecting the environment and U.S. fishermen, while also serving to “empower U.S. negotiators to press other nations to come up to our standards.”

This bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee via voice vote.

Unlike the North Pacific Fisheries Convention that was also ratified by the Senate, this treaty isn’t as significant for highly-migratory fish species, as the South Pacific isn’t home to as many migratory fish. Among the countries that have signed on to the South Pacific Fisheries Convention are Australia, Chile, China, Colombia, the Cook Islands, the European Union, the Faroe Islands, New Zealand, and Peru.

Of Note: The U.S. commercial fishing industry is associated with about 1 million U.S. jobs which provide more than $32 billion in income according to a 2011 analysis. In 2010, fishermen from Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and California caught a total of more than 5 billion pounds of fish.

There are several species of migratory fish that travel into the high seas areas of the Pacific that would be affected by this legislation by increased conservation — including tuna, billfish, sharks, and swordfish. These species accounted for about 48 million pounds of fish caught in the five states bordering the Pacific Ocean during 2010.


Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Blue Mountains Local Studies)


South Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act

Official Title

A bill to implement the Convention on the Conservation and Management of the High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean, as adopted at Auckland on November 14, 2009, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    IntroducedMay 13th, 2015