The Magnuson Stevens Act protects worldwide fish stocks

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
27 December 2006, at 12:00am

UNITED STATES - The 109th Congress neglected some of its basic responsibilities before calling it quits, but it did find the gumption to pass a vital piece of legislation to protect the nation's fisheries. Relief can't come soon enough. The oceans' fish stocks, once thought to be inexhaustible, are headed for collapse.

By strengthening the Magnuson Stevens Act that governs the fishing industry, Congress put more teeth into conservation efforts. Under the old law, a fish stock that was clearly in decline could continue to be overfished. Now, once that determination is made, regulators will have to "end overfishing immediately in the fishery and to rebuild affected stocks of fish."

Domestic fishing fleets aren't the only ones abusing the resource. So the new law allows the United States to respond to illegal fishing by foreign fleets. "For the first time, (the law) authorizes the closure of domestic ports to countries and vessels engaged in high seas plunder, expanding upon a strategy that reduced harmful (drift-net) fishing in the 1990s," according to an analysis by the National Environmental Trust.

Source: St. Petersburg Times