Battle against pirate fishing important

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2014

We are pleased to learn U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) has joined the battle against “pirate fishing” of the world’s dwindling ocean fish stock.

Pirate fishing is defined as fishing in violation of several international treaties covering where and when certain species of fish can be taken in international and national waters of nations bordering the world’s seas and oceans.

Pirate fishing has several effects on fish species, but two of the most important are the effects of such fishing on fish stocks, both now and in the future, and economic, both in the amount of money it costs fishermen who follow the rules and the amount of money it costs both land-based processors and seaside communities in taxes.

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Fishermen who follow the rules find the limits on the amount of fish they can catch reduced as the fish stocks are reduced by pirate fishermen, even to the point where species can’t reproduce sufficiently to ensure the survival of the species. Charter fishermen who carry people to sea to fish for sport are also affected as their bag limits are reduced for some of the same species, such as tuna and red snapper, sought by commercial fishermen — and pirate fishermen.

The communities where the commercial fishermen and charter fishermen live have their economies affected as the fishermen have less money to spend as their catch is reduced.

There are four treaties signed by President Obama and awaiting U.S. Senate approval. Sen. Wicker joined the U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus in urging the passage of the four bills that were the subject of a hearing by a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee this week.

We support his stand on these important treaties.