A House committee, backed by Texas Republicans, just passed a bill to stop illegal Mexican fishing boats in U.S. waters.
In an unanimous vote, the House Natural Resources Committee voted to move H.R. 774 to the floor of the House for passage. This bill, which is also called the “Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015,” is designed to give the Coast Guard the power to stop, search, and possibly arrest all foreign fishing boats in United States water. This bill is particularly aimed at the illegal Mexican fishing that happens almost daily along the Texas coastline.
“By marking up this bill and advancing it to the House floor, the committee is moving toward protecting hundreds of thousands of American jobs and billions of dollars of revenue for U.S. businesses,” said Will Ward, spokesman for the Gulf Fishermen’s Association. “We now encourage the full House to pass this bill as soon as possible, to give U.S. law enforcement the added authority they need to effectively stop pirate fishing.”
According to the Gulf Coast Leadership Council, on a global scale, about one in every five fish taken illegally comes from waters connecting to the United States. This equals out to about $23.5 billion in illegal fishing activities that is ultimately impacting the United States economy.
“Today, Members of the House Natural Resources Committee showed strong leadership on legislation to help stop foreign illegal fishing in U.S. waters,” added Chad Wilbanks, chairman of the Gulf Coast Leadership Conference. “(This is) an issue increasingly impacting America’s commercial fishing fleets, seafood processors, wholesalers and retailers, recreational charter fishing, and tourism related businesses.”
Even though this problem is largely a Texas issue, with poaching involving red snapper almost daily, other states have their own problems when it comes illegal fishing. In Alaska, for example, Russians illegally crabbing have cost the state hundreds of millions.