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106th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    106-197




 June 23, 1999.--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 

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1651]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Resources, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 1651) to amend the Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967 to 
extend the period during which reimbursement may be provided to 
owners of United States fishing vessels for costs incurred when 
such a vessel is seized and detained by a foreign country, 
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. 1651 is to amend the Fishermen's 
Protective Act of 1967 to extend the period during which 
reimbursement may be provided to owners of United States 
fishing vessels for costs incurred when such a vessel is seized 
and detained by a foreign country.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    The Fishermen's Protective Act of 1967 (FPA) established a 
program under which the Secretary of State may compensate 
fishermen for fines paid to secure the release of fishing 
vessels and crew which have been illegally seized by a foreign 
government. The FPA also established a voluntary insurance 
program to compensate fishermen who suffer lost income as a 
result of such a seizure. Section 3 of the FPA outlines how an 
owner can be reimbursed for any fine, license fee, registration 
fee, or any other direct charge paid to a foreign government 
for a vessel seizure. Once the Secretary of State certifies 
these charges, the owner can be reimbursed from the Fishermen's 
Protective Fund established under Section 9. The Fishermen's 
Protective Fund has an authorized appropriation of $3 million 
to cover the cost of reimbursements made under Section 3. The 
current unexpended balance of the Fund is $638,500. No claims 
were made against the Fund in 1998. In 1996 and 1997, 258 
vessels were reimbursed a total of $282,195 (approximately 
$1,085 per vessel) for paying illegal transit fees to Canada. 
Between 1989 and 1996, seven other claims were made on the 
Fund. Out of the seven claims, three were paid and four were 
    The voluntary insurance program, the Fishermen's Guaranty 
Fund, was established under Section 7 of the FPA. Under this 
section, the Secretary of State collects fees from the owners 
of U.S. commercial fishing vessels to cover administrative 
costs and a reasonable portion of any payments made under this 
program. If additional payments are needed, they must be 
provided through appropriated funds. The Fishermen's Guaranty 
Fund covers economic losses incurred by fishermen while their 
vessels are seized by a foreign nation including: damage to or 
destruction of the vessel, its fishing gear or other equipment; 
dockage fees; the market value of fish caught and seized; and 
fifty percent of gross income lost, as determined by the 
Secretary of the Interior. There has only been one claim 
against the Fishermen's Guaranty Fund since 1987. In 1996, four 
vessels were reimbursed a total of $186,000 for a seizure made 
by the Costa Rican Government in 1992.
    The Fisheries Act of 1995 amended the FPA to allow vessel 
owners to be reimbursed for illegal transit fees charged by the 
Canadian government in 1994 from the Fishermen's Protective 
    H.R. 1651 amends Section 7 of the FPA to extend from 2000 
to 2003 the period for which reimbursement can be sought under 
the FPA. H.R. 1651 also corrects a reference to the Secretary 
of the Interior, who no longer participates in this program, to 
the Secretary of Commerce.

                            Committee Action

    H.R. 1651 was introduced on April 29, 1999, by Congressmen 
Don Young (R-AK), Jim Saxton (R-NJ) and Eni Faleomavaega (D-
AS). The bill was referred to the Committee on Resources, and 
within the Committee to the Subcommittee on Fisheries 
Conservation, Wildlife and Oceans. On March 11, 1999, the 
Subcommittee held a hearing where the Fishermen's Guaranty Fund 
was discussed. The Administration testified in support of 
extending the period of reimbursement from the Fund. On May 6, 
1999, the Subcommittee met to mark up the bill. There were no 
amendments and the bill was ordered favorably reported to the 
Full Committee by voice vote. On June 9, 1999, the Full 
Resources Committee met to consider the bill. No amendments 
were offered and the bill was ordered favorably reported to the 
House of Representatives by voice vote.

            Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Resources' oversight findings and recommendations 
are reflected in the body of this report.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Article I, section 8 of the Constitution of the United 
States grants Congress the authority to enact this bill.

                    Compliance With House Rule XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation.--Clause 3(d)(2) 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 this bill. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) 
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 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974.
    2. Congressional Budget Act.--As required by clause 3(c)(2) 
of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and 
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, this 
bill does not contain any new budget authority, spending 
authority, credit authority, or an increase or decrease in tax 
expenditures. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 
enactment of this bill would insignificantly affect direct 
spending by allowing spending for claims made against the 
Fishermen's Guaranty Fund, which would be offset by collection 
of fees from fishing vessel owners. The Congressional Budget 
Office concluded, therefore, that H.R. 1651 would have ``no 
significant impact on the federal budget.''
    3. Government Reform Oversight Findings.--Under clause 
3(c)(4) of rule XIII 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 on this bill.
    4. Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate.--Under clause 
3(c)(3) of rule XIII 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 this bill from the Director of the Congressional Budget 

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 21, 1999.
Hon. Don Young,
Chairman, Committee on Resources,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1651, the 
Fishermen's Protective Act Amendments of 1999.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark Hadley.
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).

               congressional budget office cost estimate

H.R. 1651--Fisherman's Protective Act Amendments of 1999

    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1651 would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget. H.R. 1651 would 
affect direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures 
would apply, but any such effects would not be significant. The 
bill contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates 
as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would not 
affect the budget of state, local, or tribal governments.
    The Fisherman's Guaranty Fund pays owners of U.S. fishing 
vessels for certain financial losses if their vessels are 
seized by a foreign nation. Owners pay fees sufficient to cover 
the cost of these payments. H.R. 1651 would authorize the fund 
through 2003, allowing additional payments of fees into the 
fund. (The fund has a current balance of $2.8 million.) 
However, no owners have applied to participate in the program 
in recent years, and the fund has paid only one claim since 
1987. (That claim resulted in payments for four vessels 
totaling less than $200,000.) Thus, CBO estimates that any 
additional offsetting receipts from fees or spending for claims 
would not be significant.
    The CBO staff contact is Mark Hadley. This estimate was 
approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant Director for 
Budget Analysis.

                    Compliance With Public Law 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates.

                Preemption of State, Local or Tribal Law

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) 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 italics, existing law in which no change 
is proposed is shown in roman):


  Sec. 7. (a) The Secretary, upon receipt of an application 
filed with him at any time after the effective date of this 
section by the owner of any vessel of the United States which 
is documented or certificated as a commercial fishing vessel, 
shall enter into an agreement with such owner subject to the 
provisions of this section and such other terms and conditions 
as the Secretary deems appropriate. Such agreement shall 
provide that, if said vessel is seized by a foreign country and 
detained under the conditions of section 2 of this Act, the 
Secretary shall guarantee--
          (1) * * *

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

          (3) the owner of such vessel and its crew for not to 
        exceed 50 per centum of the gross income lost as a 
        direct result of such seizure and detention, as 
        determined by the [Secretary of the Interior] Secretary 
        of Commerce, based on the value of the average catch 
        per day's fishing during the three most recent calendar 
        years immediately preceding such seizure and detention 
        of the vessel seized, or, if such experience is not 
        available, then of all commercial fishing vessels of 
        the United States engaged in the same fishery as that 
        of the type and size of the seized vessel.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *

  (e) The provisions of this section shall be effective until 
October 1, [2000] 2003, except that payments may be made under 
this section only to such extent and in such amounts as are 
provided in advance in appropriation Acts.