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                                                       Calendar No. 678
  2d Session
                                S. 1911

                          [Report No. 106-339]

 To conserve Atlantic highly migratory species of fish, and for other 



                           November 10, 1999

   Mr. Breaux (for himself, Ms. Snowe, Mr. Hollings, Mr. Shelby, Mr. 
 Kerry, Mr. Sessions, Ms. Landrieu, and Mrs. Hutchison) introduced the 
 following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on 
                 Commerce, Science, and Transportation

                             July 12, 2000

               Reported by Mr. McCain, with an amendment
 [Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in 


                                 A BILL

 To conserve Atlantic highly migratory species of fish, and for other 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


<DELETED>    This Act may be cited as the ``Atlantic Highly Migratory 
Species Conservation Act of 1999''.</DELETED>


<DELETED>    The Congress makes the following findings:</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) Highly migratory species of fish, including 
        North Atlantic swordfish, species of Atlantic billfish, and 
        Atlantic large coastal sharks, are overfished and require 
        greater conservation as confirmed by recent scientific 
        assessments. In its most recent analysis, the Standing 
        Committee on Research and Statistics (SCRS) of the 
        International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
        (ICCAT) estimated that a number of key stocks of highly 
        migratory species have less than the biomass needed to produce 
        their respective maximum sustainable yields. The 1999 SCRS 
        stock assessment estimated that the North Atlantic swordfish 
        stock was at 65 percent of the necessary biomass to produce 
        maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The 1997 SCRS stock assessment 
        estimated that the Atlantic blue marlin stock was at 24 percent 
        and the Atlantic white marlin stock was at 23 percent of the 
        necessary biomass to produce MSY. In its most recent stock 
        assessment for Atlantic sailfish/spearfish, the SCRS estimated 
        these stocks were at 62 percent of the necessary biomass to 
        produce MSY. Also, the National Marine Fisheries Service has 
        identified North Atlantic swordfish, Atlantic blue marlin, 
        Atlantic white marlin, Atlantic sailfish/spearfish, and other 
        highly migratory species of fish as overfished.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) A reduction in the mortality of juvenile 
        swordfish will contribute substantially to the rebuilding of 
        North Atlantic swordfish as confirmed by a 1998 SCRS report 
        that expressed ``concern about the high catches (landings plus 
        discards) of small swordfish'' and ``emphasized that gains in 
        the yield could accrue if fishing mortality on small fish could 
        be further reduced''.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) In 1998, ICCAT adopted a resolution directing 
        the SCRS to develop options for rebuilding North Atlantic 
        swordfish to levels that would produce the maximum sustainable 
        yield, including alternative methods for reducing small fish 
        mortality, for consideration at the ICCAT meeting in 
        <DELETED>    (4) Reducing the mortality of species of Atlantic 
        billfish, including Atlantic blue marlin, Atlantic white 
        marlin, and Atlantic sailfish/spearfish, will contribute 
        substantially to the rebuilding of these stocks.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (5) In 1990, ICCAT encouraged its member states to 
        take appropriate measures within their national jurisdictions 
        to protect small swordfish, including the establishment of time 
        and area closures.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (6) Significant reductions in the mortality of 
        juvenile swordfish, species of Atlantic billfish, species of 
        Atlantic large coastal sharks, and other highly migratory 
        species of fish within the exclusive economic zone of the 
        United States can be achieved by the design and implementation 
        of discrete, scientifically-based time-area closures for 
        pelagic longline fishing.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (7) Conflicts between the commercial pelagic 
        longline fishery and the recreational fishery for highly 
        migratory species exist in certain areas of the U.S. Exclusive 
        Economic Zone in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico and can 
        be substantially reduced by the design and implementation of 
        discrete, scientifically-based time-area closures for pelagic 
        longline fishing.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (8) A credible, scientifically-based time-area 
        closure for pelagic longline fishing that would achieve 
        reductions in the bycatch and mortality of overfished highly 
        migratory species within the United States Exclusive Economic 
        Zone will provide a model for applying the same conservation 
        concept more broadly in international waters through ICCAT in 
        further pursuit of the goal of rebuilding the stocks of these 
        <DELETED>    (9) The time-area closures for pelagic longline 
        fishing within the United States Exclusive Economic Zone that 
        will contribute to achieving the conservation objectives for 
        swordfish, billfish, and large coastal sharks in the Atlantic 
        Ocean and Gulf of Mexico and that will reduce conflicts between 
        commercial and recreational fishermen will result in 
        substantial adverse economic impacts on United States 
        commercial fishermen who engage in pelagic longline fishing, as 
        well as their families and communities. Such adverse economic 
        impacts can be minimized by a fair and equitable buyout of the 
        permits and licenses of certain pelagic longline fishing 
        <DELETED>    (10) The commercial fishermen who sustain 
        substantial adverse economic impacts from such time-area 
        closures and who should be eligible to participate in such a 
        government buyout include those who, according to the National 
        Marine Fisheries Service data, have--</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (A) reported that at least 35 percent of 
                their vessel's annual fishing sets were conducted in 
                the proposed closed areas in any one year from 1992 
                through 1997;</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (B) reported that they conducted at least 
                25 pelagic longline gear sets during their qualifying 
                <DELETED>    (C) reported that at least 50 percent of 
                their landings for the 1995-1997 period were comprised 
                of pelagic longline target species, including 
                swordfish, tunas, mahi-mahi, escolar, and oceanic 
                sharks; and</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (D) qualified for a Directed Swordfish 
                Initial Limited Access Permit.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (11) There is a great need for the National Marine 
        Fisheries Service to conduct additional scientific research, in 
        cooperation with pelagic longline fishing vessels, to identify 
        the uses and configurations of pelagic longline fishing gear 
        that are most effective in reducing bycatch.</DELETED>


<DELETED>    The purposes of this Act are--</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) to contribute to the conservation and 
        rebuilding of overfished stocks of highly migratory species, 
        including North Atlantic swordfish, species of Atlantic 
        billfish, and Atlantic large coastal sharks, through reductions 
        in mortality and the protection of those nursery and spawning 
        areas that may occur within the exclusive economic zone of the 
        United States, to levels that will produce maximum sustainable 
        yield, in compliance with United States obligations under the 
        International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas 
        and consistent with National Standard (1) and section 304 of 
        the Magnuson-Stevens Act;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) to minimize adverse socio-economic impacts on 
        United States commercial fishermen and their families, small 
        fishing business entities, and fishing communities consistent 
        with National Standard (8) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the 
        requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, resulting from 
        the conservation actions taken under this Act;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) to enhance both the socio-economic viability 
        of the remaining United States pelagic longline fishing 
        industry and recreational fishing opportunities for highly 
        migratory species;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (4) to minimize bycatch, including regulatory 
        discards, consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the 
        international obligations of the United States;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (5) to support and encourage the United States 
        Government's efforts to obtain international agreements that 
        provide for effective fishery conservation and management 
        consistent with the policies set forth in section 2(c) of the 
        Magnuson-Stevens Act and to provide the necessary leadership 
        for achieving greater international conservation of highly 
        migratory species;</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (6) to reduce conflicts within the exclusive 
        economic zone of the United States between the pelagic longline 
        and recreational fisheries for highly migratory species; 
        <DELETED>    (7) to expand the scientific knowledge and 
        understanding of Atlantic highly migratory species and the 
        fisheries of the United States.</DELETED>


<DELETED>    It is declared to be the policy of the Congress in this 
Act and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act of 1975 that, consistent with 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act, all United States fishermen shall be treated 
fairly and equitably in achieving national and international fishery 
conservation and management objectives and obligations for highly 
migratory species of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.</DELETED>


<DELETED>    In this Act, the following definitions apply:</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (1) Affected state.--The term ``affected State'' 
        means one of the following States: South Carolina, Georgia, 
        Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (2) Billfish.--The term ``billfish'' means blue 
        marlin, spearfish, sailfish and white marlin.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (3) Bycatch.--The term ``bycatch'' means fish 
        which are harvested in a fishery, but which are not sold or 
        kept for personal use, and includes economic discards and 
        regulatory discards. The term does not include fish released 
        alive under a recreational catch and release fishery management 
        <DELETED>    (4) Eligible permit holder.--The term ``eligible 
        permit holder'' means the person or group of persons who, on 
        the date of enactment of this Act, holds the Directed Swordfish 
        Limited Access Permit that was issued based on the landings of 
        an eligible vessel.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (5) Commercial fishing.--The term ``commercial 
        fishing'' means fishing in which the fish harvested, either in 
        whole or in part, are intended to enter commerce or enter 
        commerce through sale, barter, or trade.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (6) Eligible vessel.--The term ``eligible vessel'' 
        means each vessel listed in section 7(a) of this Act.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (7) Fish.--The term ``fish'' means finfish, 
        mollusks, crustaceans, and all other forms of marine animal and 
        plant life other than marine mammals and birds.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (8) Fishing.--The term ``fishing'' means--
                <DELETED>    (A) the catching, taking, or harvesting of 
                <DELETED>    (B) the attempted catching, taking, or 
                harvesting of fish;</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (C) any other activity which can 
                reasonably be expected to result in the catching, 
                taking, or harvesting of fish; or</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (D) any operations at sea in support of, 
                or in preparation for, any activity described in 
                subparagraphs (A) through (C).</DELETED>
        <DELETED>The term does not include any scientific research 
        activity that is authorized by the Secretary.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (9) Fishing vessel.--The term ``fishing vessel'' 
        means any vessel, boat, ship, or other craft which is used for, 
        equipped to be used for, or of a type which is normally used 
                <DELETED>    (A) fishing; or</DELETED>
                <DELETED>    (B) aiding or assisting one or more 
                vessels at sea in the performance of any activity 
                relating to fishing, including but not limited to 
                preparation, supply, storage, refrigeration, 
                transportation, or processing.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (10) Geodesic.--The term ``geodesic'' means the 
        shortest line between two points that lies on the surface of 
        the Earth.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (11) Highly migratory species.--The term ``highly 
        migratory species'' means tuna species, billfish, oceanic 
        sharks, and swordfish.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (12) Magnuson-stevens act.--The term ``Magnuson-
        Stevens Act'' means the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
        and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (13) Pelagic longline fishing.--The term ``pelagic 
        longline fishing'' means a method of fishing that uses any 
        fishing gear consisting of a length of line suspended 
        horizontally in the water above the bottom from lines attached 
        to surface floats and to which gangions and hooks are 
        <DELETED>    (14) Person.--The term ``person'' means any 
        individual, corporation, partnership, association, or other 
        entity (whether or not organized or existing under the laws of 
        any State).</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (15) Recreational fishing.--The term 
        ``recreational fishing'' means fishing for sport or 
        <DELETED>    (16) Record address.--The term ``record address'' 
        means the address of record for each permit holder and 
        swordfish dealer as maintained in the National Marine Fisheries 
        Service's databases.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (17) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the 
        Secretary of Commerce.</DELETED>
        <DELETED>    (18) Swordfish dealer.--The term ``swordfish 
        dealer'' means any person who purchases, trades for, or barters 
        for the receipt of any Atlantic swordfish (whether imported or 
        domestic and regardless of origin) for any commercial purpose 
        (including selling, trading, or bartering such swordfish to 


<DELETED>    (a) Atlantic Conservation Zone for Highly Migratory 
Species.--No person may engage in pelagic longline fishing in the 
Atlantic Conservation Zone For Highly Migratory Species, which is the 

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