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H.R. 1979 (116th): Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act


The text of the bill below is as of Mar 28, 2019 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.

Summary of this bill

President Donald Trump vetoed two bills during the final month of his presidency. One attracted front page headlines. The other did not.

Context

Large mesh driftnets (or gillnets) are huge tarps sometimes as long as 1.5 miles, left overnight under the ocean surface by commercial fisheries to catch permitted fish. Because they also catch a host of endangered species that get caught in them — such as dolphins and whales — their use has been outlawed in the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and in both the Pacific Ocean’s state and federal waters off of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington state. The extraneous marine life the nets capture are ...


I

116th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1979

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 28, 2019

(for himself and Mr. Fitzpatrick) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

A BILL

To improve the management of driftnet fishing.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act.

2.

Definition

Section 3(25) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1802(25)) is amended by inserting , or with a mesh size of 14 inches or greater, after more.

3.

Findings and policy

(a)

Findings

Section 206(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1826(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (6), by striking and at the end;

(2)

in paragraph (7), by striking the period and inserting ; and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(8)

within the exclusive economic zone, large-scale driftnet fishing that deploys nets with large mesh sizes causes significant entanglement and mortality of living marine resources, including myriad protected species, despite limitations on the lengths of such nets.

.

(b)

Policy

Section 206(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1826(c)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2), by striking and at the end;

(2)

in paragraph (3), by striking the period and inserting ; and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following—

(4)

prioritize the phase out of large-scale driftnet fishing in the exclusive economic zone and promote the development and adoption of alternative fishing methods and gear types that minimize the incidental catch of living marine resources.

.

4.

Transition program

Section 206 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1826) is amended by adding at the end the following—

(i)

Fishing gear transition program

(1)

In general

During the 5-year period beginning on the date of enactment of the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, the Secretary shall conduct a transition program to facilitate the phase-out of large-scale driftnet fishing and adoption of alternative fishing practices that minimize the incidental catch of living marine resources, and shall award grants to eligible permit holders who participate in the program.

(2)

Permissible uses

Any permit holder receiving a grant under paragraph (1) may use such funds only for the purpose of covering—

(A)

any fee originally associated with a permit authorizing participation in a large-scale driftnet fishery, if such permit is surrendered for permanent revocation, and such permit holder relinquishes any claim associated with the permit;

(B)

a forfeiture of fishing gear associated with a permit described in subparagraph (A); or

(C)

the purchase of alternative gear with minimal incidental catch of living marine resources, if the fishery participant is authorized to continue fishing using such alternative gears.

(3)

Certification

The Secretary shall certify that, with respect to each participant in the program under this subsection, any permit authorizing participation in a large-scale driftnet fishery has been permanently revoked and that no new permits will be issued to authorize such fishing.

.

5.

Exception

Section 307(1)(M) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1857(1)(M)) is amended by inserting before the semicolon the following: “, unless such large-scale driftnet fishing—

(i)

deploys, within the exclusive economic zone, a net with a total length of less than two and one-half kilometers and a mesh size of 14 inches or greater; and

(ii)

is conducted within 5 years of the date of enactment of the Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act

.