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115th Congress   }                                      {      Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session      }                                      {     115-775

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



 
   TO MAKE TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS TO CERTAIN MARINE FISH CONSERVATION 
                    STATUTES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES

                                _______
                                

 June 22, 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

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 4528]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 4528) to make technical amendments to certain 
marine fish conservation statutes, and for other purposes, 
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. 4528 is to make technical amendments to 
certain marine fish conservation statutes.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Billfish is the common name used for a broad category of 
predatory and highly migratory species characterized by their 
spear-like ``bill''.\1\ Billfish are marine fish species that 
generally belong to the family Istiophoridae and can be found 
primarily in tropical and sub-tropical waters in oceans across 
the globe.\2\ Management of these species is typically governed 
by international fishing treaties, and the Secretary of 
Commerce promulgates regulations for their management within 
the exclusive economic zone of the United States pursuant to 
the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management 
Act.\3\
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    \1\https://billfish.org/education/what-are-billfish/.
    \2\Id at 2.
    \3\16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.
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    The quality of data surrounding these species varies, and 
for several species the data is poor or nonexistent.\4\ For 
species with comprehensive stock assessments, their 
conservation statuses vary. According to the most recent stock 
assessments, some billfish species, including the Atlantic blue 
marlin, are overfished or undergoing overfishing.\5\ However, 
other species, including the Pacific blue marlin, are neither 
overfished nor undergoing overfishing.\6\
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    \4\For example, in 2011 the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission 
determined that ``it is not possible to determine the status of the 
sailfish stock in the EPO with respect to specific management 
parameters . . . because the results do not provide reliable 
information on stock productivity and the biomass level corresponding 
to [maximum sustainable yield]''. See report titled ``Status of 
Sailfish in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2011 and Outlook for the 
Future'' (Hinton, Michael G. and Maunder, Mark N.) for further detail 
on this species. For a variety of reasons several other species of 
billfish, including the shortbill spearfish, the roundscale spearfish 
and the longbill spearfish lack comprehensive, reliable stock 
assessments.
    \5\Stock Assessment for the Atlantic Blue Marlin, International 
Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, 2011.
    \6\Stock Assessment Update for Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans) in 
the Pacific Ocean through 2014, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries 
Commission, 2014.
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    In 2012, Congress enacted the Billfish Conservation Act of 
2012 (Public Law 112-183). This legislation broadly prohibited 
the sale of billfish in the mainland United States.\7\ This 
prohibition covers blue marlin, striped marlin, black marlin, 
sailfish, shortbill spearfish, white marlin, roundscale 
spearfish, Mediterranean spearfish, and longbill spearfish, but 
explicitly excludes swordfish.\8\ The Act included an exemption 
for traditional uses for ``billfish caught by U.S. fishing 
vessels and landed in the State of Hawaii or Pacific Insular 
Areas''.\9\ Congress intended this exemption for traditional 
uses ``not [to] apply to the State of Hawaii and Pacific 
Insular areas as long as the billfish were only sold in Hawaii 
or a Pacific Insular area'' [emphasis added].\10\
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    \7\16 U.S.C. 1827a(a).
    \8\16 U.S.C. 1827a(d).
    \9\16 U.S.C. 1827a(c)(1).
    \10\House Committee on Natural Resources Report to Accompany H.R. 
2706, H. Rpt. 112-656, p. 2.
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    While Congress intended the exemption to allow the sale of 
billfish only within Hawaii or the Pacific Insular areas where 
the fish was landed and retained, as written, current law 
allows billfish landed in these areas to be sold to the 
mainland through these traditional markets. H.R. 4528 would 
amend section 4(c)(1) of the Act by adding ``and retained'' 
after ``landed''. This change would reconcile current law and 
the original intent of the Act.
    The bill is supported by American Sportfishing Association, 
Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation 
Association, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the Guy 
Harvey Ocean Foundation, the National Marine Manufacturers 
Association, OCEARCH and Wild Oceans.\11\
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    \11\http://asafishing.org/senators-weigh-billfish-conservation-
act/.
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    An identical bill, S. 396, introduced by Senator Bill 
Nelson (D-FL), passed the Senate by voice vote on October 2, 
2017.\12\
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    \12\https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/396/
actions.
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                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 would clarify the Billfish Conservation Act of 
2012 to ensure the exemption provided for traditional markets 
in Hawaii and the Pacific Insular areas would not allow the 
sale of billfish from these areas to the mainland United 
States.
    Section 2 amends Public Law 111-348 to emphasize that 
nothing in the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 would impact the 
ability of the Secretary of Commerce to manage highly migratory 
species pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 4528 was introduced on December 1, 2017, by 
Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans. On April 17, 2018, the 
Subcommittee held a hearing on the legislation. On June 6, 
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 unanimous consent.

            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 received the following estimate for the 
bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 21, 2018.
Hon. Rob Bishop,
Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 4528, a bill to 
make technical amendments to certain marine fish conservation 
statutes, and for other purposes.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Jacob Fabian.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall,
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 4528--A bill to make technical amendments to certain marine fish 
        conservation statutes, and for other purposes

    H.R. 4528 would amend the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 
to prevent the transfer and sale of billfish caught and landed 
by U.S. vessels in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas to the 
mainland United States. Under current law, billfish caught and 
landed in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas by U.S. vessels 
can be sold locally or transported and sold in the mainland 
United States. The bill also would amend the Shark Conservation 
Act of 2010 to affirm that the Secretary of Commerce has the 
authority to regulate shark fishing under the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4528 would increase 
revenues from civil penalties resulting from violations of the 
prohibition on selling billfish to the mainland United States; 
therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. However, using 
information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), CBO estimates that the increased 
revenues would not be significant in any year and over the 
2019-2028 period. Enacting the bill would not affect direct 
spending.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 4528 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2029.
    The prohibitions in H.R. 4528 would impose a private-sector 
mandate as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA). 
Using information from NOAA about the value of billfish landed 
in Hawaii and Pacific Insular Areas, CBO estimates that the 
cost of the mandate would total a few million dollars or less 
and would fall well below the annual threshold established in 
UMRA for private-sector mandates ($160 million in 2018, 
adjusted annually for inflation).
    The bill does not contain any intergovernmental mandates.
    On August 17, 2017, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
396, a bill to make technical amendments to certain marine fish 
conservation statutes, and for other purposes, as ordered 
reported by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and 
Transportation on May 18, 2017. The two pieces of legislation 
are similar and the CBO's estimate of the budgetary effects are 
the same.
    The CBO staff contacts for this estimate are Jacob Fabian 
(for federal costs) and Zachary Byrum (for private-sector 
mandates). The estimate was reviewed by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
    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 make technical amendments to 
certain marine fish conservation statutes.

                           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 (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

BILLFISH CONSERVATION ACT OF 2012

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



SEC. 4. PROHIBITION ON SALE OF BILLFISH.

  (a) Prohibition.--No person shall offer for sale, sell, or 
have custody, control, or possession of for purposes of 
offering for sale or selling billfish or products containing 
billfish.
  (b) Penalty.--For purposes of section 308(a) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 
1858(a)), a violation of this section shall be treated as an 
act prohibited by section 307 of that Act (16 U.S.C. 1857).
  (c) Exemptions for Traditional Fisheries and Markets.--
          (1) Subsection (a) does not apply to billfish caught 
        by US fishing vessels and landed and retained in the 
        State of Hawaii or Pacific Insular Areas as defined in 
        section 3(35) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
        Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1802(35)).
          (2) Subsection (a) does not apply to billfish landed 
        by foreign fishing vessels in the Pacific Insular Areas 
        when the foreign caught billfish is exported to non-US 
        markets or retained within Hawaii and the Pacific 
        Insular Areas for local consumption.
  (d) Billfish Defined.--In this section the term 
``billfish''--
          (1) means any fish of the species--
                  (A) Makaira nigricans (blue marlin);
                  (B) Kajikia audax (striped marlin);
                  (C) Istiompax indica (black marlin);
                  (D) Istiophorus platypterus (sailfish);
                  (E) Tetrapturus angustirostris (shortbill 
                spearfish);
                  (F) Kajikia albida (white marlin);
                  (G) Tetrapturus georgii (roundscale 
                spearfish);
                  (H) Tetrapturus belone (Mediterranean 
                spearfish); and
                  (I) Tetrapturus pfluegeri (longbill 
                spearfish); and
          (2) does not include the species Xiphias gladius 
        (swordfish).
                              ----------                              


                           PUBLIC LAW 111-348


 AN ACT to amend the high seas driftnet fishing moratorium protection 
act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to 
                  improve the conservation of sharks.

SECTION 1. TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Table of contents.

                 TITLE I--SHARK CONSERVATION ACT OF 2010

Sec. 101. Short title.
Sec. 102. Amendment of the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium 
          Protection Act.
Sec. 103. Amendment of Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
          Management Act.
[Sec. 104. Offset of implementation cost.]
Sec. 104. Rule of construction.
     * * * * * * *

TITLE I--SHARK CONSERVATION ACT OF 2010

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


[SEC. 104. OFFSET OF IMPLEMENTATION COST.

  [Section 308(a) of the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act of 
1986 (16 U.S.C. 4107(a)) is amended by striking ``2012.'' and 
inserting ``2010, and $2,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2011 
and 2012.''.]

SEC. 104. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

  Nothing in this title or the amendments made by this title 
shall be construed as affecting, altering, or diminishing in 
any way the authority of the Secretary of Commerce to establish 
such conservation and management measures as the Secretary 
considers necessary and appropriate under sections 302(a)(3) 
and 304(g) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1852(a)(3), 1854(g)).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    H.R. 4528 would amend the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 
to require billfish landed in Hawaii or the Pacific Insular 
Areas (American Samoa, Baker Island, Guam, Howland Island, 
Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Island, the 
Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, and Wake Island) to be 
retained for sale in those areas. While this bill's title 
characterizes this change as a technical amendment, we believe 
this bill represents a substantive change in the law (Billfish 
Conservation Act of 2012; Public Law 112-183). While we 
appreciate the conservation intent of H.R. 4528, we feel that 
billfish fisheries off the coasts of Hawaii and the Pacific 
Insular Areas are already well-managed and sustainable.
    Such a change in the law principally targets fishers in 
Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands and prevents them from selling their 
sustainably-caught billfish to markets in the mainland United 
States, removing an exemption in the Billfish Conservation Act 
of 2012 for these Pacific fisheries. Many local fishermen's 
groups from Hawaii, Guam, and other Pacific Insular Areas 
oppose this change in the law, as does the Western Pacific 
Regional Fishery Management Council.
    Under Section 4(c) of the Billfish Conservation Act of 
2012, billfish caught by U.S. fishing vessels and landed in 
Hawaii or the Pacific Insular Areas are currently exempt from 
the general prohibitions on sale and custody with the intent to 
sale, reflecting careful management of domestic billfish 
fisheries in the Pacific under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act. Unfortunately, in the Atlantic 
region, recreational fishers prize billfish such as swordfish 
and marlin, which has led to overfishing and stock depletion of 
several Atlantic billfish species.\1\ Note the Billfish 
Conservation Act of 2012 does not restrict fishing for 
swordfish, and that H.R. 4528 would not close this exemption.
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    \1\2017 Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) Report for 
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration (NOAA), Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management 
Division, January 2018
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    Alan Risenhoover, Director of the Office of Sustainable 
Fisheries at NOAA, emphasized in his written testimony 
submitted to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, 
Power and Oceans at an April 17, 2018, hearing on H.R. 4528, 
``. . . in the Pacific and Western Pacific, with the exception 
of striped marlin, billfish populations are not overfished or 
subject to overfishing and are being sustainably managed under 
the Magnuson Stevens Act. The U.S. catch of billfish has been 
below established limits set by international bodies for 
Pacific striped marlin stocks.\2\
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    \2\Alan Risenhoover, Testimony by to the Committee on Natural 
Resources, Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans, April 17, 2018
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    U.S.-caught billfish account for only a small percentage of 
the total landings in the Pacific region. Approximately 15 
percent of the total catch in Hawaii in 2016 consisted of 
billfish.\3\ Local fishermen's groups from Hawaii, Guam and 
other Pacific Insular Areas have expressed strong objections to 
closing a potential future market for their Pacific-caught 
billfish in the mainland United States. H.R. 4528 will 
negatively impact the livelihoods of fishermen in Hawaii, Guam 
and the Pacific Insular Areas by closing off the only off-
island market for U.S.-caught billfish.
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    \3\Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report. Pacific Island 
Pelagic Fisheries 2016, Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management 
Council, September 13, 2017
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    In closing, H.R. 4528 will do little to improve billfish 
conservation in U.S. territorial waters in the Pacific, where 
fishermen have been sustainably landing these species for 
generations. We support needed-conservation efforts in the 
Atlantic, but do not believe that Pacific fisheries need to be 
targeted in order to achieve those goals. Such unwarranted 
restrictions on commercial fishing activities are seen by many 
Pacific Islander fishermen as infringing upon generations of 
traditional fishing practices, their rights as indigenous 
peoples, and consensus-based local fisheries management.

                                   Colleen Hanabusa.
                                   Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen.
                                   Madeleine Z. Bordallo.

                                  [all]