Connecticut’s U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal have teamed with their Massachusetts colleague Elizabeth Warren on a new bill designed to update Atlantic Coast commercial fishing as it relates to climate change.

The Supporting Healthy Interstate Fisheries in Transition (SHIFT) Act would require the Department of Commerce to consider the changing geographic ranges of fish populations as it oversees federal fishery management plans and quota allocations for Atlantic states. The senators stated restrictions on the species and number of fish that can be caught in Atlantic waters need to be updated because fish locations have changed in response to warming ocean temperatures and climate change.

The SHIFT Act would require the Secretary of Commerce and encourage the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to account for the impact of climate change on the current distribution of fish populations when deciding fishing quota allocations. The SHIFT Act also amends the existing Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. federal waters, to improve upon other areas of fishery operations, including sustainability. The legislation also calls for the regular review of fisheries.

“As ocean temperatures keep getting warmer, fish up and down the coast are migrating north. This makes business a lot harder for Connecticut fishermen,” said Murphy. “We should be doing everything possible to help fishermen adapt to our changing climate, and this legislation would update totally outdated policies that hurt our state.”

“This legislation will help raise the tide for fishing in Connecticut and beyond, boosting the blue economy,” said Blumenthal. “Climate change has drastically altered our oceans, forcing some fishermen to travel hundreds of miles to reach their quotas or to toss valuable fish overboard. The SHIFT Act will ensure that evolving climate conditions are prioritized in fishery management, helping local fishermen, the economy, and fish populations.”

The senators noted their bill has been endorsed by several environmental groups including the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Audubon Society.