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Friday, February 4, 2011
Inouye introduces Felony Fishing Bill
By Heritage Foundation @ 10:10 PM :: 6823 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics


S. 52: International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act

Sponsor: Inouye (D - HI)

Official Title: A bill to establish uniform administrative and enforcement procedures and penalties for the enforcement of the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act and similar statutes, and for other purposes.


  • 1/25/2011: Introduced in Senate
  • 1/25/2011: Referred to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee

Commentary: This bill is similar to several bills introduced in the 110th and 111th Congresses dealing with the enforcement mechanisms available to stop and deter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing operations. S. 52's new criminal provisions apply to violations of a number of existing statutes, including the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which cover various forms of protected marine life. In addition to creating new offenses, the bill establishes criminal penalties, including large maximum fines, for the new criminal violations and existing civil offenses.

In particular, it would be a criminal offense to (a) "import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce" any fish or fish product taken in violation of any treaty or agreement to which the United States is a party; or (b) make or submit a false record, account, label for, or identification of any fish that passes in interstate or foreign commerce.

Certain violations of S. 52 would subject a person to up to five years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Where a dangerous weapon is involved or bodily injury to any protected federal officer results, the maximum term of imprisonment is doubled to 10 years. Corporations that violate certain provisions would be fined up to $1 million.

S. 46: Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act

Sponsor: Inouye (D - HI)

Official Title: A bill to reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, and for other purposes.


  • 1/25/2011: Introduced in Senate
  • 1/25/2011: Referred to Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee

Commentary: This bill reauthorizes the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000. With certain limited exceptions, the bill makes it unlawful to "destroy, take, cause the loss of, or injure any coral reef" or component; to "possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship" coral taken in violation of the Act; or to violate permits issued or regulations promulgated pursuant to the Act by the Department of Interior or Department of Commerce.

A person who "knowingly violates" one of these provisions is subject to up to five years imprisonment, criminal fines, or both. The bill also criminalizes the refusal to permit federal officers to board a vessel for purposes of inspection and enforcement of the Coral Reef Conservation Act, and criminalizes "resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, harassing, bribing, interfering with, ... forcibly assaulting," or submitting false information to any federal official in connection with such searches or inspections.

A person who "knowingly commits" one of these acts is subject to up to five years imprisonment, criminal fines of up to $500,000 ($1 million for organizations), or both. If a dangerous weapon is used that "causes bodily injury" to the officer or places him "in fear of imminent bodily injury," the maximum prison term is doubled to 10 years.




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