05.06.22

Whitehouse and Murkowski Direct China Package Conferees to Support Fisheries, Invest in Blue Economy

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), co-chairs of the bipartisan Senate Oceans Caucus, released the following statements after their legislation, the Bolstering Long-Term Understanding and Exploration of the Great Lakes, Oceans, Bays, and Estuaries Act, or the BLUE GLOBE Act, advanced one step closer to becoming law. This week the Senate passed by voice vote Senators Whitehouse and Murkowski's motion to instruct conferees on H.R. 4521, the United States Innovation and Competition Act, to include their BLUE Globe Act in the final conference report. Their legislation accelerates technology innovation, promotes a stronger maritime workforce, and bolsters the blue economy.

“I’m pleased our motion passed with broad support last night, continuing the Senate’s strong bipartisan tradition of caring for the oceans,” said Senator Whitehouse. “The oceans cover seventy percent of the planet, yet there’s much left to be learned about them. New high-quality research and data will help guide the future of the Blue Economy and support maritime jobs.”

“The BLUE GLOBE Act is one step closer to becoming law, which is great news for Alaska’s fisheries and coastal communities. I am proud of our unanimous voice vote last night, which reflects the bipartisan support for this initiative, and look forward to working with the conferees to get this one to the President’s desk,” said Senator Murkowski. “This legislation will improve the health of our fisheries, strengthen the competitiveness of the industry’s workforce, protect against China’s illegal fishing, and diversify our blue economy. I am excited for the opportunities that our fishing communities have and will continue to fight for this critical industry.”

Background: The BLUE GLOBE Act directs existing federal ocean-focused interagency committees to improve domestic and international coordination, enhance data management and accessibility, and accelerate ocean data and monitoring innovation by giving NOAA Cooperative Institutes a stronger focus on technology advancement. The bill creates a new ocean innovation prize, and tasks the National Academy of Sciences with assessing the need for an Advanced Research Project Agency–Oceans. The legislation also prioritizes the use of innovative technology to better address Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. This measure follows successful work by the Oceans Caucus to support the passage of four international agreements aimed at combatting IUU fishing and the related legislation.

Press Contact

Karina Borger (Murkowski), 202.224.9301

Meaghan McCabe (Whitehouse), 401.453.5294