Congressmen Lowenthal and Fitzpatrick Introduces Bipartisan Bill To Protect Imperiled Seabirds
Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), today, joined by 20 House colleagues, introduced legislation to protect imperiled seabirds from international fishing threats while increasing ongoing seabird conservation efforts in the United States and abroad.
The Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act would implement the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), an international conservation agreement that has been signed by 13 member countries since 2001 and covers 31 species of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters. Despite previous calls by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama to ratify the agreement, the Senate has yet to vote on the agreement.
“This is a critical opportunity for the United States to resume its leadership role in international conservation efforts,” Congressman Lowenthal said. “It is vital that we implement the ACAP to encourage other nations to adopt strong conservation standards and also in order to take steps to ensure that foreign fishing vessels follow international conservation measures that protect endangered seabirds.”
Many albatross and petrel species are listed among the most threatened seabirds in the world because of habitat loss and fisheries bycatch (unwanted fish and other marine creatures caught during commercial fishing for a different species), but the U.S. has been a leader in reducing fisheries bycatch.
“Serving as good stewards of our environment and working to ensure endangered species can be protected and repopulated is something each of us are called to regardless of location, background or political ideology,” Congressman Fitzpatrick said. “This bill will help reduce habitat destruction, minimize marine debris, and slow the spread of invasive species. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in support of this bipartisan legislation and urge others to join us in the defense of endangered species.”
The Albatross and Petrel Conservation Act ties together existing U.S. laws and statutes without substantially changing current laws in order to implement the international agreement.
The legislation would also authorize the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to implement fisheries conservation measures, increase international fisheries enforcement, restore habitat, reduce non-native species, develop educational programs, and cooperate internationally on conservation efforts.
Click here to read the full text of the bill.