Urge your members of Congress to pass this critical ocean package legislation

Earlier this year, Congress was on track to pass several pieces of important ocean legislation as part of a larger legislative package. Unfortunately, other pieces of the massive bill were pulled out and passed separately, leaving the ocean provisions behind.

This session of Congress is quickly coming to an end, and right now is our best chance to pass these important bills before they die, and we have to start all over again.

The ocean package includes several ocean related priorities, including:

  • A ban on the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States
  • Stronger tools to compel other countries to prevent illegal fishing by their fleets
  • Ending the use of deadly large mesh drift gillnets in U.S. waters that kill ocean wildlife.

Time is running out and we need your help. We need members of Congress to encourage congressional and committee leaders to get this bipartisan “ocean package” over the finish line before the end of the year!

Petition Text

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As your constituent, I write in strong support of enacting the ocean package in this session of Congress. This ocean package includes multiple bills that would strengthen protections for ocean life—including sharks, whales, and corals—as well as improving scientific knowledge of the ocean.

House and Senate negotiators reached agreement on the ocean package as part of the negotiations on a larger bill, sometimes referred to as the Bipartisan Innovation Act, based on the Senate’s US Innovation and Competition Act (S. 1260) and the House’s America COMPETES Act (H.R. 4521).

However, rather than completing the “Bipartisan Innovation Act,” Congress pulled several sections out of the larger bill and passed those, leaving the ocean package and other sections of the larger bill unresolved. Unless the ocean package is added to a must-pass bill, Congress may fail to pass any significant ocean legislation this year.

Provisions in this important package of ocean policies include the following:

  • A federal ban on the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States. The demand for shark fins incentivizes shark finning, the cruel and wasteful practice of removing a shark’s fins at sea and throwing its body back overboard where it drowns, starves to death, or is eaten alive by other fish. The fins from as many as 73 million sharks end up in the global market every year. While the act of shark finning is banned in U.S. fisheries, shark fins are still sold in the United States. Removing the United States from devastating global shark fin trade would send a strong message to the rest of the world.
  • More policy tools for the federal government to reduce illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in global seafood supply chains. The United States imports up to 85% of our seafood, and an estimated $2.4 billion worth of seafood imports were products of IUU fishing in 2019. IUU fishing threatens fish populations, honest fishers, and the safety of seafood for consumers. Also, IUU fishing practices are often linked to forced labor and other human rights abuses.
  • Legislation that would end the use of deadly large mesh drift gillnets in U.S. waters. In federal waters off the coast of California, mile-long, nearly invisible mesh nets intended to catch swordfish often entangle, injure, and kill whales, dolphins, sea lions, endangered sea turtles, sharks, and non-targeted fish. This is the last fishery in the U.S. that allows large-mesh drift gillnets, which are already prohibited in many countries.
  • Provisions to strengthen research and rescue of injured marine mammals; enhance ocean data collection, monitoring, and innovation; improve coral reef restoration and conservation; improve ocean and coastal mapping; and more.

We urge you to talk to other key decision-makers in the congressional leadership and on key committees about getting the ocean package over the finish line this year.

Sincerely,

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your information

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