Colleagues, I present this bill today to deal specifically with the destruction of our oceans.
1. End all U.S. subsidies to fisheries engaged in deep-sea trawling.
2. Encourage all nations to stop subsidies for deep-sea trawling.
3. Immediately ban the sale in the U.S. of fish and other food caught by those who engage in deep-sea trawling - domestic or foreign.
4. Establish a multinational group concentrated on banning the practice completely.
5. Establish fish farms in the communities most impacted, paid for by those countries who are the worst offenders - mainly China, Russia, and Spain.
The massive fishing trawlers destroy one deep-sea ecosystem after another, crushing coral reefs in their. They suck up all living creatures and leave behind barren vast areas that won’t regenerate for hundreds of years. In a single swoop, some boats are capable of clearing an area the size of 5000 football fields, spreading this destruction throughout our precious oceans.
Canada, Russia, and Spain lead the world in the deep sea destruction, and on top of that they receive huge subsidies - more than 162 million dollars a year. The practice is unsustainable and our oceans are being depleted. A six-year study found that the effects of bottom-trawling are devastating. The aforementioned countries have failed to live up to their commitments to ocean protection, and their governments continue to direct huge subsidies to ocean clearcuts.
The European Union Fisheries Commissioner has spoken out against government subsidies to deep-sea trawlers. Accountability must be made by the leaders of China, Canada and Russian. In October an international team of marine scientists recently called for a permanent end to deep-sea fishing. This must happen as soon as as possible.
According to our own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, approximately 27 million metric tons (30 million tons) of by-catch are discarded each year in the world's commercial fisheries, compared to a total of about 77 million metric tons (85 million tons) of landed catch.
This doesn’t include the research from recreational fisheries. In 159 distinct U.S. fisheries, by-catch discarding was examined and it was revealed that at least 149 species or species groups are affected including finfish, crustaceans and mollusks, which constitute a majority of these species or species groups. Horribly, even protected species such as marine mammals, sea turtles and sea birds make up most of the by-catch remainder. This is an outrage that must stop.
Over-fishing alters the food chain and the composition of the aquatic community by lowering the number of individuals of reproductive age. Populations are becoming unsustainable.
Lost mobile fishing gear is a frequent problem. All apparatus should be clearly marked and identified. "Ghost" fishing is the process of using unattended fishing gear, some of which becomes lost but continuing to wreak devastation.
In addition, mobile fishing gear, such as bottom trawls and scallop dredges, can remove or damage biota associated with the bottom and disrupt sedimentary structures, altering important habitat features.
An international tribunal must be established. Restitution would be encouraged for the worst offenders to establish fish farms in economically deprived coastal communities where fishing was once the livelihood which have been decimated by deep-sea trawling.
China especially should be encouraged to establish fish farms in small countries affected by its huge pollution and tremendous demand.