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
"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.
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