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Revisions Made to Fishery Management Guidelines in Progress Towards Ending Overfishing

Lucy Towers
20 October 2016, at 1:00am

US - NOAA Fisheries has announced final revisions to the guidelines that federal managers will use as they routinely update the nation's marine fisheries plans.

The revised federal fishery management guidelines, known as the National Standard 1 guidelines of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, are intended to provide more flexibility and be more effective in ending and preventing overfishing.

“US efforts to rebuild fish stocks under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the National Standards have resulted in real ecological and economic benefits, and made the nation an international leader in fisheries management,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries.

“The revisions will continue our progress to prevent and end overfishing while providing an adaptive management system that better supports fishermen and fishing communities.”

These successes are based on the fundamental mandate within the Magnuson-Stevens Act that overfishing must be prevented. Changes to these guidelines will not change that. Rather, these updates are based on lessons learned since the reauthorization of the Magnuson Act in 2007 and provide consistent technical guidance across the eight regional fishery management councils.

The National Standard 1 revisions reflect advances in fisheries science and address a range of technical issues, including:

  • Providing regulatory stability for commercial and recreational fishing – so that businesses can increase their resilience to stock changes over time
  • Adding scientific methods that result in better informed rebuilding plans
  • Improving guidance on managing a fishery when data about a stock is limited
  • Advancing Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management, which will help managers consider the broader marine ecosystem when managing fish populations