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FLEOA Supports SB 269/ HR 69 and SB 267

February 5, 2014

The Honorable Harry Reid                                        
Senate Majority Leader
Capitol Bldg, S-221
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

On behalf of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), the largest nonprofit professional association representing 26,000 current and retired federal law enforcement officers across the nation, including member NOAA special agents and uniformed officers, we write to express our strong support for the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act (SB 269/ HR 69), the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act (SB 267), and the Port State Measures Agreement.  We urge you to immediately pass these important bills to enhance domestic and international enforcement efforts to protect our valuable fisheries resources for law-abiding U.S. fisherman and our coastal communities.

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s, Office for Fisheries Law Enforcement (NOAA OLE) are responsible for protecting living marine resources within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including preventing foreign illegal fishing and supporting international efforts to eliminate fisheries-related crime on the high seas. In addition, enforcement activities often transcend fisheries crime, as foreign illegal fishing vessels are known to engage in other types of transnational crimes, including drug and human trafficking, posing a persistent challenge to U.S. sovereignty.

Immediate passage of SB 269/HR 69; SB 267 and the Port State Measures Agreement would simplify enforcement protocols and provide the U.S. Coast Guard and the NOAA Fisheries service, Office for Law Enforcement additional tools to improve enforcement, enhance port security, protect our law enforcement officers, and  take stronger action against foreign illegal fishing operators.

Specifically, the Inte   Specifically the International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act (IFSEA) would harmonize existing enforcement protocols and establish streamlined standards for taking action against foreign illegal fishing  vessels. The legislation also increases officer safety by making it an explicit violation to assault or otherwise oppose law enforcement officers in the enforcement of existing international fisheries laws.  Finally, SB 269/HR 69 would enhance cooperation between the U.S. Coast Guard, NOAA OLE, other law enforcement partners, the Department of Defense and increase the resources available to enforcement officers to detect, track and prosecute foreign illegal fishing activity.

The Pirate Fishing Elimination Act would implement the Port State Measures Agreement, an international treaty that would close ports around the globe to foreign vessels engaged in illegal fishing, eliminating pathways for illegal product to enter the global fish market and reducing the economic incentive for foreign illegal fishing operators. Passage of this bill would encourage other nations to meet U.S. Standards by implementing common-sense port inspection and control requirements resulting in a broad increase in overall maritime security.

Passage of SB 269/ HR 69; SB 267 and ratification of the Port State Measures Agreement will enable U.S. law enforcement officers to more safely and effectively apprehend foreign illegal fishing operators and build on domestic and international efforts to eliminate fisheries-related crime. Please pass these important measures as soon as possible.

Feel free to contact FLEOA Public Information Officer Jennifer Mattingly for further assistance at (202) 293-1550.

Sincerely,

Jon Adler
FLEOA National President