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U.S. Senate Passes Stevens-Murkowski Resolution to Protect Arctic Fisheries


October 07, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate late Saturday night approved Senator Ted Stevens' (R-Alaska) and Senator Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) joint resolution (S.J. Res 17) directing the United States to negotiate an international agreement for managing fish stocks in the Arctic Ocean.
Currently, commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean has been limited by the distribution of fish habitat and short fishing seasons.  Due to impacts of climate change, ocean temperatures may shift, causing fish to enter new habitats and creating more favorable fishing conditions. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council recognized the importance of properly managing these emerging fisheries and it proposed in June that the U.S. close all federal waters in the Arctic Ocean until a management regime is put in place.  S.J. Res 17 is consistent with that effort. 
"For decades the United States has been a world leader in managing fish stocks harvested in Alaska for commercial, recreational, and subsistence purposes.  Successful fisheries management has preserved a key economic driver for the State and an important piece of Native culture. Now is the time for our nation to meet the next great challenge ­ managing emerging fisheries in the Arctic Ocean. With sound science as our foundation, we must work with other countries to assure the sustainability of this critical resource."
"Conserving our fish stocks requires action both domestically and internationally," said Senator Murkowski.  "The North Pacific Fisheries Management Council is taking action to develop a fisheries management plan for the Chukchi and Beauford Seas.  Congress must now ensure that steps are taken to create an international framework for the management of fisheries in Arctic waters."
The resolution also addresses the problem of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. It calls upon the U.S. to help prevent fishing on the high seas of the Arctic until an international fisheries management plan is developed, which would contain measures to combat IUU fishing that continues to undermine fisheries worldwide. Senator Stevens is leading the fight against IUU fishing and believes that eliminating these illegal fishing practices is a key to maintaining the health of Alaska's fisheries.    


Source of News:

Offices of Sen. Ted Stevens & Sen. Lisa Murkowski

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Ketchikan, Alaska