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Friday, May 6, 2011
Inouye Introduces Bills to Imprison Fishermen, seize boats
By Heritage Foundation @ 7:01 PM :: 5387 Views :: Energy, Environment

From www.OverCriminalized.com

S. 52: International Fisheries Stewardship and Enforcement Act

 

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.

Sponsor: Inouye

Status:

1/25/2011: Introduced in Senate

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

5/5/2011: Mark up in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee

5/5/2011: Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute by 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 criminalizing violations of those acts, the bill establishes criminal penalties, including large maximum fines, for a wide range of offenses.

In particular, S. 52 would make it a criminal offense to:

  1. violate any provision of the legislation or any regulation promulgated thereunder;
  2. "refuse to permit any authorized officer to board, search, or inspect a vessel, conveyance, or shoreside facility" subject to inspection under the Act;
  3. "forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, or interfere with any such authorized officer in the conduct of any search, investigation, or inspection" authorized under the Act;
  4. "resist a lawful arrest for any act" prohibited by the legislation;
  5. "interfere with, delay, or prevent, by any means, the apprehension, arrest, or detection of another person, knowing that such person has committed" a violation of the Act;
  6. "forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, sexually harass, bribe, or interfere with any observer [or data collector] on a vessel" subject to inspection under the Act;
  7. "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
  8. make or submit a false record, account, label for, or identification of any fish that passes in interstate or foreign commerce.

Violations of prohibitions 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 by individual actors would be punishable by criminal sanctions of up to five years imprisonment, fines of up to $500,000, or both, regardless of the criminal intent of the accused. The maximum term of imprisonment would be raised to ten years for individuals who used a "dangerous weapon," engaged in conduct that caused bodily injury to a government enforcement officer, or placed any such officer in "fear of imminent bodily injury."

Entities violating prohibitions 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 would be subject to an elevated maximum fine of $1,000,000.

"Knowing" violations of any of S. 52's criminal prohibitions by an individual actor would be punishable by criminal sanctions of up to five years imprisonment, fines of up to $500,000, or both.

"Knowing" violations of S. 52's criminal provisions by an entity would subject that entity to a criminal fine of up to $1,000,000.

A person or entity convicted of a criminal violation under the provisions of this bill would also be subject to criminal forfeiture of "any property, real or personal, constituting or traceable to the gross proceeds obtained, or retained, as a result of the offense," including any marine species taken in connection with the offense, and "any property, real or personal, used or intended to be used to commit or to facilitate the commission of the offense," including all relevant shoreside property.

* * * * *

S. 46: Coral Reef Conservation Amendments Act

 

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

Sponsor: Inouye

Status:

1/25/2011: Introduced in Senate

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

5/5/2011: Mark up in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee

5/5/2011: Ordered to be reported with an amendment in the nature of a substitute by 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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