Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act Passes Congress
On December 8, 2006, in the final hours of the 109th Congress passed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act.
President Bush, through his Ocean Action Plan, made reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act a top priority. The President called for an end to overfishing, increased use of market-based management tools, creation of a national saltwater angler registry, and an emphasis on ecosystem approaches to management.
The bill keeps intact the existing 10-year rebuilding timeframe and adds in new protections against overfishing. It requires fishery managers to base all quotas on the advice of scientists and advances new limitations on "cap-and-trade" fishing permit programs.
The new bill will:
authorize the use of market-based limited access privilege programs;
require establishment of a regionally-based registry for recreational fishermen;
strengthen fisheries enforcement;
authorize the Secretary to provide assistance to the Regional Fishery Management Councils for development of regional ecosystem pilot programs; and
establishes Community Based Restoration Programs that utilize public-private partnerships to restore fishery and coastal habitat, in line with the President's Cooperative Conservation Agenda.
"We believe that this legislation is an important step for the United States to rebuild our nation's fisheries and will allow our fishers to utilize all of the tools that are available so their fishing businesses can operate safely and economically," said Bill Hogarth, director of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
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