16 U.S. Code §5509. Forfeitures

Section Text

(a) In general

Any high seas fishing vessel (including its fishing gear, furniture, appurtenances, stores, and cargo) used, and any living marine resources (or the fair market value thereof) taken or retained, in any manner, in connection with or as a result of the commission of any act prohibited by section 5505 of this title (other than an act for which the issuance of a citation under section 5506 of this title is a sufficient sanction) shall be subject to forfeiture to the United States. All or part of such vessel may, and all such living marine resources (or the fair market value thereof) shall, be forfeited to the United States pursuant to a civil proceeding under this section.

(b) Jurisdiction of district courts

Any district court of the United States shall have jurisdiction, upon application of the Attorney General on behalf of the United States, to order any forfeiture authorized under subsection (a) and any action provided for under subsection (d).

(c) Judgment

If a judgment is entered for the United States in a civil forfeiture proceeding under this section, the Attorney General may seize any property or other interest declared forfeited to the United States, which has not previously been seized pursuant to this chapter or for which security has not previously been obtained. The provisions of the customs laws relating to—

(1) the seizure, forfeiture, and condemnation of property for violation of the customs law;

(2) the disposition of such property or the proceeds from the sale thereof; and

(3) the remission or mitigation of any such forfeiture;

shall apply to seizures and forfeitures incurred, or alleged to have been incurred, under the provisions of this chapter, unless such provisions are inconsistent with the purposes, policy, and provisions of this chapter.

(d) Procedure

(1) Any officer authorized to serve any process in rem that is issued by a court under section 5506(b) of this title shall—

(A) stay the execution of such process; or

(B) discharge any living marine resources seized pursuant to such process;

upon receipt of a satisfactory bond or other security from any person claiming such property. Such bond or other security shall be conditioned upon such person delivering such property to the appropriate court upon order thereof, without any impairment of its value, or paying the monetary value of such property pursuant to an order of such court. Judgment shall be recoverable on such bond or other security against both the principal and any sureties in the event that any condition thereof is breached, as determined by such court.

(2) Any living marine resources seized pursuant to this chapter may be sold, subject to the approval of the appropriate court, for not less than the fair market value thereof. The proceeds of any such sale shall be deposited with such court pending the disposition of the matter involved.

(e) Rebuttable presumption

For purposes of this section, all living marine resources found on board a high seas fishing vessel and which are seized in connection with an act prohibited by section 5505 of this title are presumed to have been taken or retained in violation of this chapter, but the presumption can be rebutted by an appropriate showing of evidence to the contrary.

Editorial Notes

EFFECTIVE DATE Section effective 120 days after Nov. 3, 1995, see section 111 of Pub. L. 104–43, set out as a note under section 5501 of this title.


16 U.S.C. § 5509 (2018)