Seminole, FL – The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation cosponsored by Congressman David Jolly (FL-13) today to fight the problem of illegal fishing from foreign vessels in the Gulf of Mexico. The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 774) passed the House by voice vote.
“Illegal fishing from foreign vessels is a direct threat to the livelihood of thousands of hardworking Americans along the Gulf coast as well as the quality of life throughout our Bay area communities. This bill will strengthen enforcement mechanisms against those who illegally fish our waters and will protect this important resource for our recreational, commercial, and charter boat fisherman,” Jolly said.
The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act stiffens penalties for those caught illegally fishing in U.S. waters by potentially stripping poachers of their boats and equipment and laying the groundwork for criminal charges based on the laws of their home countries.
“The successful passage of H.R. 774 proves that Rep. David Jolly puts Pinellas County and the State of Florida first with his unwavering leadership and untiring promise to protect coastal jobs. Thank you Congressman Jolly for leading the charge on this important issue,” said Chad Wilbanks, the chairman of Gulf Coast Leadership Conference.
“This Act protects sovereign U.S. waters from decades of pirate fishing, human trafficking, and drug smuggling. All of Florida’s Coastal businesses and residents that enjoy our natural resources stand to gain for decades to come with the passage of this legislation. I want to thank Congressman Jolly on behalf of Gulf Fishermen’s Association for his strong leadership and support of passage of this legislation,” added Captain Will Ward, board director for Gulf Fisherman’s Association.
According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Gulf of Mexico’s commercial and recreational fishing industries contributed more than $30 billion annually to the region’s economy in 2012.
Globally, illegal and unreported fishing account for up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood, or about one in every five fish taken from our oceans.
Preston Rudie, Communications Dir of David W. Jolly
Header photo: Florida Rep. David Jolly listens to Mark Hubbard, CEO of Hubbard’s Marina in John’s Pass, Fla., explain how foreign illegal fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is hurting commercial fishing throughout the Gulf region. (Photo: Gulf Coast Leadership Conference)