Washington, D.C. – The leaders of the bipartisan U.S. Senate Oceans Caucus, Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Cory Booker (D-NJ), have welcomed seven new members to the Caucus, bringing the group’s membership to 30. The new members include Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Rob Portman (R-OH), John Boozman (R-AR), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).
The Senate Oceans Caucus, founded by co-chairs Murkowski and Whitehouse in 2011, is a bipartisan group of Senators that works to raise awareness of coastal and marine issues and find common ground on legislation that affects our oceans, Great Lakes, coasts, and the communities and businesses that rely on these resources.
“I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the newest members of our Oceans Caucus,” said Senator Murkowski. “It is great to see these seven new members represent different parts of the country—from Georgia to Ohio to my home state of Alaska. I look forward to hearing their different perspectives on issues vital to all Americans—the health of our waters.”
“Welcome to our newest members of the Senate Oceans Caucus!” said Senator Whitehouse. “Our oceans, lakes, and coasts are part of the American way of life, and major drivers of our economy. Our diverse and growing Caucus will work together to manage and protect those important assets for future generations. I’m glad to have such a distinguished group of Senators added to our ranks and I thank them for joining us.”
Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), who serve as honorary co-chairs on the Senate Oceans Caucus as members of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and the Coast Guard, also welcomed the new members.
“I am pleased to see that the Oceans Caucus is now comprised of nearly one-third of all Senators,” Senator Wicker said. “Although we represent different areas of the country and may have different priorities, we can all agree that our oceans are an invaluable resource that merit considerable attention.”
“Oceans are vital to the environmental health and economic prosperity of the United States,” Senator Booker said. “The addition of seven new members to the Oceans Caucus will help us better advocate for this invaluable natural resource.”
“We are very excited about the addition of seven Republican Senators to the Oceans Caucus,” said David Barron, Founder of the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, which supports the work of the Oceans Caucus. “A truly bipartisan approach to oceans conservation is essential, and we are grateful to the Caucus chairs for their outstanding leadership on oceans issues.”
In 2014, the Senate Oceans Caucus was successful in winning Senate approval of a treaty to combat pirate fishing and protect American fishermen who are put at a disadvantage by the illegal practice. The Caucus then worked to pass the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015—legislation that gives the federal government authority to enforce the pirate fishing treaty. The IUU Fishing Enforcement Act became law in November 2015.