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Bill Cracking Down on Pirate Fishing Moves Toward Passage

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Two bills sponsored by Sen. Begich passed the Senate Commerce Committee last week and are headed next to the Senate floor. While one dealing with Genetically Engineered (GE) salmon was pulled from the agenda when it appeared the measure would fall one vote short of passage, a measure cracking down on illegal fishing and one supporting NOAA Corps moved forward. "Alaskans have serious concerns about Genetically Engineered salmon -- I call them Frankenfish -- but other Senators had concerns about my bill, and reluctantly I decided to pull from today's markup to save the fight for a another day," Begich said. But Begich was pleased the Committee favorably reported the Pirate Fishing Elimination Act, (S. 1980) sponsored by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and co-sponsored by Begich. The Committee also passed Begich's S.2388, the NOAA Corps Amendments Act of 2012, which makes needed improvements in the service with no additional spending. The bill would give the Corps critical tools to streamline personnel practices, improve its diversity and retention of senior female officers. This bill creates new incentive programs like student loan repayment to let the corps compete on a level playing field. It pays for the new programs with savings in other sections of the bill and does not authorize any new appropriations.

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