[House Report 104-42]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



  

                                                                       
104th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 1st Session                                                     104-42
_______________________________________________________________________


 
            SEA OF OKHOTSK FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 1995

_______________________________________________________________________


 February 21, 1995.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______


  Mr. Young of Alaska, from the Committee on Resources, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 715]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 715) to amend the Central Bering Sea Fisheries 
Enforcement Act of 1992 to prohibit fishing in the Central Sea 
of Okhotsk by vessels and nationals of the United States, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          Purpose of the Bill

    The purpose of H.R. 715 is to ensure greater conservation 
and management of straddling fishery stocks in the Central Sea 
of Okhotsk by prohibiting U.S. citizens from fishing in this 
area.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    Straddling fishery stocks are those fish stocks which 
travel between the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of 
two or more countries or between the EEZs and international 
waters. The nature of these stocks results in their management 
under a wide variety of regulatory schemes depending on their 
particular geographic location. Unfortunately, conservation 
measures imposed by one jurisdiction may be unsuccessful when 
other countries do not enact similar restrictions. As a result, 
nations that allow short-term economic benefits to determine 
management practices can cause the decline of plentiful and 
profitable fisheries to the detriment of all nations with an 
interest in the fishery.
    Due to the transient nature of these stocks and their 
commercial importance to many different countries, straddling 
stocks have become an important international concern. The 
United Nations instituted a series of conferences beginning in 
July 1993, and that are still ongoing, to discuss the 
conservation and management of these fisheries.
    One area which needs improved conservation of its 
straddling stock resources is the Central Sea of Okhotsk, a 
small enclave of international waters known as the Peanut Hole 
and surrounded by the EEZ of the Russian Federation. Although 
other countries do not have the right to fish in the Russian 
EEZ, fishermen may traverse it and fish in the international 
waters in the Central Sea of Okhotsk. Therefore, the strict 
conservation measures imposed by the Russian Federation within 
its own EEZ may not be successful due to overfishing in the 
Peanut Hole by fishermen from other countries.
    At issue in the Central Sea of Okhotsk is a pollock stock 
which spawns only in the EEZ of the Russian Federation but 
traverses these international waters. Fishermen from China, 
Japan, Korea, and Poland have continued to overharvest the 
pollock resource leading to the extreme decline of the stock.
    In 1992, the Congress enacted the Central Bering Sea 
Fisheries Enforcement Act of 1992 to protect the living marine 
resources of the Central Bering Sea (also known as the Donut 
Hole) which, like those of the Central Sea of Okhotsk, have 
rapidly declined due to overharvesting. Under the statute, U.S. 
fishermen who violate international fishery agreements for the 
Central Bering Sea are subject to penalties available in the 
Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 
1801 et seq.). Foreign fishermen who fish within this area will 
lose U.S. port privileges. Unfortunately, the Central Bering 
Sea Fisheries Enforcement Act had unintended consequences; some 
fishermen who could not continue their harvests in the Central 
Bering Sea have moved their operations to the Central Sea of 
Okhotsk, necessitating additional legislation to protect the 
stocks in this area as well.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 715 was introduced by Congressman Don Young on January 
26, 1995, and referred to the Committee on Resources. Within 
the Committee, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on 
Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans. This bill, the Sea of Okhotsk 
Fisheries Enforcement Act, is cosponsored by the Subcommittee 
Chairman Jim Saxton and the Ranking Minority Member of the 
Subcommittee, Gerry Studds.
    On January 25, 1995, the Subcommittee on Fisheries, 
Wildlife and Oceans held an oversight hearing on H.R. 715. 
Ambassador David A. Colson, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State 
for Oceans, testified for the Administration. Ambassador Colson 
stated that ``enactment of the bill would further our bilateral 
efforts, particularly with Russia, to protect the marine 
environment and to ensure sustainable fisheries in the Central 
Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. The Administration strongly 
recommends and supports enactment of the bill.''
    At the same hearing, Mr. Rolland A. Schmitten, Assistant 
Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service 
(NMFS), indicated in his testimony that ``NMFS fully supports 
amendments to the Central Bering Sea Fisheries Enforcement Act 
of 1992 that would prohibit vessels and nationals of the U.S. 
from conducting fishing operations in the Central Sea of 
Okhotsk, except where such fishing operations are conducted in 
accordance with international fishery agreements to which both 
the U.S. and the Russian Federation are parties. This position 
is consistent with past U.S. statements of support for the 
conservation and management of pollock stocks in the area.''
    On February 1, 1995, the Subcommittee on Fisheries, 
Wildlife and Oceans met to consider H.R. 715. The bill was 
approved, without amendment and in the presence of a quorum, by 
voice vote and ordered reported to the Full Committee.
    On February 8, 1995, the Full Committee met to consider 
H.R. 715. There were no amendments offered to the bill. The 
bill was approved by voice vote with a quorum of Members 
present and ordered reported to the House of Representatives.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 provides that the Act may be cited as the ``Sea 
of Okhotsk Fisheries Enforcement Act of 1995''.
    Paragraph (1) of Section 2 inserts the words ``and the 
Central Sea of Okhotsk'' after the ``Central Bering Sea'' in 
the Central Bering Sea Fisheries Enforcement Act of 1992. This 
addition prohibits U.S. fishermen from fishing in the Central 
Sea of Okhotsk and extends the penalties available in the 
Magnuson Fishery Conservation Management Act to U.S. fishermen 
who violate the provisions of this bill.
    Paragraph (2) of Section 2 reorders the definitions listed 
in the Central Bering Sea Fisheries Enforcement Act to insert a 
definition of the Central Sea of Okhotsk.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Pursuant to clause 2(l)(3) of rule XI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives and clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, the Committee's 
oversight findings and recommendations are reflected in the 
body of this report.

                     Inflationary Impact Statement

    Pursuant to clause 2(l)(4) of rule XI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee estimates that the 
enactment of H.R. 715 will have no significant inflationary 
impact on prices and costs in the operation of the national 
economy.

                        Cost of the Legislation

    Clause 7 of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs which would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 715. However, clause 7(d) of that Rule provides that this 
requirement does not apply when the Committee has included in 
its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the bill 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

                     Compliance With House Rule XI

    1. With respect to the requirements of clause 2(l)(3)(A) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and Oceans held hearings on 
January 25, 1995, on the Sea of Okhotsk Fisheries Enforcement 
Act and the oversight findings and recommendations of the 
Committee are reflected in this report.
    2. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and 
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and 
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 715.
    3. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(C) of 
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the 
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H.R. 715 
from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                 Washington, DC, February 15, 1995.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
reviewed H.R. 715, the Sea of Okhotsk Fisheries Enforcement Act 
of 1995, as ordered reported by the House Committee on 
Resources on February 8, 1995. Because enactment of H.R. 715 
could affect direct spending and receipts, pay-as-you-go 
procedures would apply; however, CBO estimates that any change 
in direct spending and receipts would be negligible.
    The bill would prohibit fishing in the Central Sea of 
Okhotsk by United States vessels and nationals (United States 
citizens fishing under the flag of another country) of the and 
would make penalties created by the Magnuson Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act applicable to U.S. fishers who 
violate the provisions of H.R. 715. The Magnuson Act imposes 
both civil and criminal penalties on violators; however, it is 
unlikely that many fines would be collected under H.R. 715. Any 
civil and criminal fines levied under H.R. 715 would increase 
receipts to the federal government. Criminal fines would be 
deposited in the Crime Victims Fund and would be spent in the 
following year. CBO does not expect this additional revenue or 
direct spending to be significant.
    H.R. 715 would result in no cost to state or local 
governments.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Rachel 
Robertson.
            Sincerely,
                                    Robert D. Reischauer, Director.

                          Departmental Reports

    The Committee has received no departmental reports on H.R. 
715.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3 of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

          CENTRAL BERING SEA FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT ACT OF 1992

          * * * * * * *

SEC. 302. PROHIBITION APPLICABLE TO UNITED STATES VESSELS AND 
                    NATIONALS.

    (a) Prohibition.--Vessels and nationals of the United 
States are prohibited from conducting fishing operations in the 
Central Bering Sea and the Central Sea of Okhotsk, except where 
such fishing operations are conducted in accordance with an 
international fishery agreement to which the United States and 
the Russian Federation are parties.
    (b) Civil Penalties and Permit Sanctions.--A violation of 
this section shall be subject to civil penalties and permit 
sanctions under section 308 of the Magnuson Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1858).
          * * * * * * *

SEC. 306. DEFINITIONS.

    In this title, the following definitions apply:
          (1) Central bering sea.--The term ``Central Bering 
        Sea'' means the central Bering Sea area which is more 
        than two hundred nautical miles seaward of the 
        baselines from which the breadth of the territorial 
        seas of the United States and the Russian Federation 
        are measured.
          (2) Central sea of okhotsk.--The term ``Central Sea 
        of Okhotsk'' means the central Sea of Okhotsk area 
        which is more than two hundred nautical miles seaward 
        of the baseline from which the breadth of the 
        territorial sea of the Russian Federation is measured.
          [(2)] (3) Fishing vessel.--The term ``fishing 
        vessel'' means any vessel which is used for--
                  (A) catching, taking, or harvesting fish; or
                  (B) aiding or assisting one or more vessels 
                at sea in the performance of fishing 
                operations, including preparation, supply, 
                storage, refrigeration, transportation, or 
                processing.
          [(3)] (4) Owns or controls.--When used in reference 
        to a vessel or processing facility--
                  (A) the term ``owns'' means holding legal 
                title to the vessel or processing facility; and
                  (B) the term ``controls'' includes an 
                absolute right to direct the business of the 
                person owning the vessel or processing 
                facility, to limit the actions of or replace 
                the chief executive officer (by whatever 
                title), a majority of the board of directors, 
                or any general partner (as applicable) of such 
                person, to direct the transfer or operations of 
                the vessel or processing facility, or otherwise 
                to exercise authority over the business of such 
                person, but the term does not include the right 
                simply to participate in those activities of 
                such person or the right to receive a financial 
                return, such as interest or the equivalent of 
                interest, on a loan or other financing 
                obligation.
          [(4)] (5) Permitted fishing vessel.--The term 
        ``permitted fishing vessel'' means any fishing vessel 
        that is subject to a permit issued by the Secretary of 
        Commerce under the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and 
        Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
          [(5)] (6) Person.--The term ``person'' means any 
        individual (whether or not a citizen of the United 
        States), any corporation, partnership, association, 
        cooperative, or other entity (whether or not organized 
        under the laws of any State), and any State, local, or 
        foreign government, or any entity of such government or 
        the Federal Government.
          [(6)] (7) Processing facility.--The term ``processing 
        facility'' means any fish processing establishment or 
        fish processing vessel that receives unprocessed fish.
          * * * * * * *