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115th Congress   }                                   {          Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                   {        115-1104

======================================================================



 
 LIMITATION ON CERTAIN FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT BASED ON OBSERVER REPORTS

                                _______
                                

 December 21, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

Mr. Bishop of Utah, from the Committee on Natural Resources, submitted 
                             the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 5025]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 5025) to amend the Western and Central Pacific 
Fisheries Convention Implementation Act to limit the imposition 
of penalties against a person fishing on a United States flag 
fishing vessel in certain areas of the Pacific Ocean based on a 
report by an observer on such a vessel, having considered the 
same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend 
that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 5025 is to amend the Western and 
Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act to 
limit the imposition of penalties against a person fishing on 
the United States flag fishing vessel in certain areas of the 
Pacific Ocean based on a report by an observer on such a 
vessel.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The coordinated management of shared fishery stocks in 
international waters (201 or more miles from U.S. shores) is 
accomplished by nations participating in Regional Fisheries 
Management Organizations (RFMOs). These international 
commissions guide and coordinate the fisheries management 
activities of multiple nations in a specific region.\1\ There 
are a number of RFMOs that the U.S. is party to, with the five 
major RFMOs being the Commission for the Conservation of 
Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT), the Inter-American Tropical Tuna 
Commission (IATTC), the International Commission for the 
Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), the Indian Ocean Tuna 
Commission (IOTC), and the Western and Central Pacific 
Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).\2\
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    \1\http://www.state.gov/e/oes/ocns/fish/regionalorganizations/.
    \2\http://www.fao.org/fishery/topic/12270/en.
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    In each case, an RFMO  comprised of designees from each 
participating country and territory  fosters cooperative 
management of these shared resources.\3\ Cooperation under such 
a convention allows the U.S. to address fisheries resources not 
covered under preexisting fisheries management instruments and 
helps to prevent destructive fishing practices by other 
participating nations that may hurt domestic fisheries.\4\
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    \3\Id at 2.
    \4\Kelly Welsh letter to Chairman Rob Bishop, September 15, 2015.
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    The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention 
Implementation Act (Public Law 109-479)\5\ was signed into law 
in January 2007 to codify the United States participation in 
the Convention and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks 
in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.\6\ The Convention 
established the WCPFC which, according to its website, is 
responsible for overseeing the compliance of the Convention by 
signatory nations, as well as supporting three subsidiary 
committees: Scientific, Technical and Compliance, and Northern 
Committees.\7\
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    \5\Public Law 109-479, Signed January 12, 2007.
    \6\https://www.wcpfc.int/about-wcpfc.
    \7\Id at 6.
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    To ensure fair, consistent implementation and enforcement 
of the Convention, H.R. 5025 simply states that any U.S. 
flagged vessel that is accused of violating the Convention be 
afforded the opportunity to see the on-board observer's report 
citing the violation within 60 days of the alleged violation 
taking place. The legislation also simply states that any 
enforcement action taken against a U.S. flagged vessel for a 
violation under the Convention be convened within one year of 
the violation occurring.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 5025 was introduced on February 14, 2018, 
Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS). The bill 
was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources and within 
the Committee to the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. 
On November 15, 2018, the Natural Resources Committee met to 
consider the bill. The Subcommittee was discharged by unanimous 
consent. No amendments were offered, and the bill was ordered 
favorably reported to the House of Representatives by a voice 
vote.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                  Compliance With House Rule XIII and 
                        Congressional Budget Act

    1. Cost of Legislation and the Congressional Budget Act. 
With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) and (3) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
sections 308(a) and 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974, the Committee has requested but not received a cost 
estimate for the bill from the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office.
    2. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to amend the Western and Central 
Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act to limit the 
imposition of penalties against a person fishing on the United 
States flag fishing vessel in certain areas of the Pacific 
Ocean based on a report by an observer on such a vessel.

                           Earmark Statement

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                       Compliance With H. Res. 5

    Directed Rule Making. This bill does not contain any 
directed rule makings.
    Duplication of Existing Programs. This bill does not 
establish or reauthorize a program of the federal government 
known to be duplicative of another program. Such program was 
not included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139 
or identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance published pursuant to the Federal Program 
Information Act (Public Law 95-220, as amended by Public Law 
98-169) as relating to other programs.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italic and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

  WESTERN AND CENTRAL PACIFIC FISHERIES CONVENTION IMPLEMENTATION ACT




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
   TITLE V--IMPLEMENTATION OF WESTERN AND CENTRAL PACIFIC FISHERIES 
CONVENTION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 507. PROHIBITED ACTS.

  (a) In General.--It is unlawful for any person--
          (1) to violate any provision of this title or any 
        regulation or permit issued pursuant to this title;
          (2) to use any fishing vessel to engage in fishing 
        after the revocation, or during the period of 
        suspension, on an applicable permit issued pursuant to 
        this title;
          (3) to refuse to permit any officer authorized to 
        enforce the provisions of this title to board a fishing 
        vessel subject to such person's control for the 
        purposes of conducting any search, investigation, or 
        inspection in connection with the enforcement of this 
        title or any regulation, permit, or the Convention;
          (4) to forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, 
        intimidate, or interfere with any such authorized 
        officer in the conduct of any search, investigations, 
        or inspection in connection with the enforcement of 
        this title or any regulation, permit, or the 
        Convention;
          (5) to resist a lawful arrest for any act prohibited 
        by this title;
          (6) to ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, 
        purchase, import, export, or have custody, control, or 
        possession of, any fish taken or retained in violation 
        of this title or any regulation, permit, or agreement 
        referred to in paragraph (1) or (2);
          (7) to interfere with, delay, or prevent, by any 
        means, the apprehension or arrest of another person, 
        knowing that such other person has committed any 
        chapter prohibited by this section;
          (8) to knowingly and willfully submit to the 
        Secretary false information (including false 
        information regarding the capacity and extent to which 
        a United States fish processor, on an annual basis, 
        will process a portion of the optimum yield of a 
        fishery that will be harvested by fishery vessels of 
        the United States), regarding any matter that the 
        Secretary is considering in the course of carrying out 
        this title;
          (9) to forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, 
        intimidate, sexually harass, bribe, or interfere with 
        any observer on a vessel under this title, or any data 
        collector employed by the National Marine Fisheries 
        Service or under contract to any person to carry out 
        responsibilities under this title;
          (10) to engage in fishing in violation of any 
        regulation adopted pursuant to section 506(a) of this 
        title;
          (11) to ship, transport, purchase, sell, offer for 
        sale, import, export, or have in custody, possession, 
        or control any fish taken or retained in violation of 
        such regulations;
          (12) to fail to make, keep, or furnish any catch 
        returns, statistical records, or other reports as are 
        required by regulations adopted pursuant to this title 
        to be made, kept, or furnished;
          (13) to fail to stop a vessel upon being hailed and 
        instructed to stop by a duly authorized official of the 
        United States;
          (14) to import, in violation of any regulation 
        adopted pursuant to section 506(a) of this title, any 
        fish in any form of those species subject to regulation 
        pursuant to a recommendation, resolution, or decision 
        of the Commission, or any tuna in any form not under 
        regulation but under investigation by the Commission, 
        during the period such fish have been denied entry in 
        accordance with the provisions of section 506(a) of 
        this title.
  (b) Entry Certification.--In the case of any fish described 
in subsection (a) offered for entry into the United States, the 
Secretary of Commerce shall require proof satisfactory to the 
Secretary that such fish is not ineligible for such entry under 
the terms of section 506(a) of this title.
  (c) Limitation on Enforcement Based on Observer Reports.--No 
person fishing on a United States flag fishing vessel in the 
Convention Area shall be subject to any penalty under this Act 
or any other law or regulation applicable to such vessels based 
on a report by an observer on such a vessel, unless--
          (1) the observer report is provided to the captain 
        and the owner of the vessel within 60 days after the 
        end of the fishing trip; and
          (2) any enforcement action based on such report is 
        brought within one year after the end of the fishing 
        trip.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            DISSENTING VIEWS

    H.R. 5025 amends the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries 
Convention Implementation Act to make it more difficult to 
penalize a person for violating the Act. Specifically, H.R. 
5025 limits the ability of NOAA law enforcement to bring 
charges against a person fishing on a United States flagged 
fishing vessel in the Convention area based on a report by a 
fisheries observer.
    Fishery observers play an integral role in managing our 
nation's robust fisheries. They are highly trained biological 
scientists who gather data to support fishery conservation, 
management, and ensure compliance with fishing and safety 
regulations.
    H.R. 5025 would only allow a penalty to apply if the 
observer report is provided to the captain and the owner of the 
vessel within 60 days after the end of the fishing trip and any 
enforcement action based on the report is brought within one 
year after the end of the fishing trip.
    This bill is problematic because it often takes more than a 
year to bring enforcement action due to the lack of resources 
and the amount of time it takes to conduct a thorough 
investigation considering the international and transnational 
nature of the fleet. In addition, the information provided by 
the observer could not be used for a repeat offender if 
violations occur more than a year apart making it more 
difficult to go after the worst offenders. For these reasons, 
we oppose the bill as reported.

                                   Raul M. Grijalva,
                                           Ranking Member, Committee on 
                                               Natural Resources.
                                   Alan Lowenthal.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Jared Huffman.

                                  [all]