Who's to Blame for the Lawbreaking and Habitat Destruction in U.S. Fisheries?
A Fishes Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Reynard Loki, Earth/Food/Life a project of the Independent Media Institute
May 2021

We disrespect the Earth’s oceans at our own peril.

ensnared Turtle
The hidden cost of fishing: Marine debris can entangle and even kill marine wildlife. For air-breathing animals like this sea turtle, discarded fishing gear, known as “ghost gear,” is a constant threat that can entangle them and cause them to drown. (Photo credit: NOAA PIFSC)

There is one main U.S. law that governs the management of marine fisheries in federal waters: The Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). Originally intended to address the concern over foreign fisheries operating near U.S. waters, the MSA, which was passed in 1976, extended the nation’s exclusive fisheries zone from 12 to 200 nautical miles from the coastline. The law was amended in 1996 and 2007 to prevent overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, establish annual catch limits, put accountability measures in place, strengthen the use of science through peer review, and ensure the overall sustainability of the fishing industry.

Since it was passed, and through past bipartisan reauthorizations, the MSA has notched up many successes, including the rebuilding of at least 40 fisheries stocks—some of which were on the verge of collapse—in the last two decades. “Under the MSA, we are ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks, which strengthens the value of fisheries to our economy and marine ecosystems,” according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the Department of Commerce that is responsible for the stewardship of U.S. ocean resources and their marine habitats....



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