ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A new bill introduced this week by Sen. Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young fires a shot across the bow of pirate fishing, giving federal authorities several options to dispose of foreign vessels seized for that offense -- including sinking them in live-fire training exercises.
If passed, the Pirate Fishing Vessel Disposal Act would also let the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Coast Guard hand over foreign vessels seized during illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing to other governments to be used in fisheries enforcement. Seized vessels could also be given to other government or non-profit agencies for training, education or research.
A fourth option would allow such vessels to be scrapped and recycled.
The new legislation comes in the wake of the Coast Guard’s September seizure of the Bangun Perkasa, a vessel conducting illegal fishing 2,600 southwest of Kodiak. In an October press release Begich called for the vessel to be sunk by gunfire, but it was ultimately turned over to NOAA while its Asian crew of 22 were deported to their home countries.