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Fact Sheet: Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act

January 12, 2007

Today, President Bush Signed The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation And Management Reauthorization Act Of 2006. By signing this bill, the President reaffirmed our commitment to protect America's fisheries and keep our commercial and recreational fishing communities strong. This Act will end over-fishing in America, help us replenish our Nation's fish stocks, and advance international cooperation and ocean stewardship.

  • The Signing Of The Magnuson-Stevens Act Completes A Goal From The Administration's 2004 Ocean Action Plan – And Caps Two Years Of Accomplishment In Ocean Conservation. In 2004, the Administration released its Ocean Action Plan to promote an ethic of responsible use and stewardship of our ocean and coastal resources. Since its release, the plan has produced good results:
    • Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument: In June 2006, President Bush signed a proclamation establishing the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, the largest single conservation area in the history of our country.
    • Gulf Coast Regional Plan: The Administration worked with the five Gulf Coast states in their effort to establish a regional plan – released in March 2006 – to enhance water quality and protect our coastal habitats.
    • U.N. Resolution To Stop Destructive Fishing Practices On The High Seas: In November 2006, America worked with other countries on a new U.N. resolution to help stop destructive fishing practices on the high seas.
    • Conservation Plan For The Dry Tortugas: In December 2006, the Administration finalized its work with the State of Florida to create a conservation plan for the Dry Tortugas – an important nature preserve in the Florida Keys.
    • Additional Legislation: In December 2006, the President signed into law a bill to create the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and a bill to help identify and prevent marine debris.
    • Advancing Research: The Administration developed a ten-year Ocean Research Priorities Plan and Implementation Strategy to guide science and technology development.
    • Promoting Ocean Literacy: In June 2006, the White House supported a Conference on Ocean Literacy concerning the ocean's importance to our national heritage, economy, and security.

The Magnuson-Stevens Act Builds On The Administration's Progress Implementing Its Ocean Action Plan

  1. The Act Sets A Firm Deadline To End Over-Fishing In America By 2011. Over-fishing occurs when more fish from a species are caught than is sustainable, endangering the species' long-term existence. This Act directs Regional Fishery Management Councils to establish annual quotas in Federally-managed fisheries to end over-fishing by 2010 for fish stocks currently undergoing over-fishing and by 2011 for all other Federally-managed fish stocks.

  2. The Act Uses Market-Based Incentives To Replenish America 's Fish Stocks. The Act will help us double the number of limited-access privilege programs by the year 2010. Limited-access privilege programs assign specific shares of the annual harvest quota to eligible fishermen, fishing communities, and regional fishery associations. Increasing the number of these programs will end the race for fish, improve the quality of catches, and protect those who earn their livelihood from fishing.

  3. The Act Strengthens Enforcement Of America's Fishing Laws. Under the Act, those who break the law can lose their individual fishing quotas. The Act also expands cooperation between State and Federal officials to ensure our fishing laws are fully enforced, and it encourages the use of the latest technology in vessel-monitoring to aid in the real-time tracking of fishing boats.

  4. The Act Improves Information And Decisions About The State Of Ocean Ecosystems. The Act creates several programs to improve the quality of information used by fishery managers and establishes regional registries for recreational fishermen. It also provides for improved assessment of the effects of proposed fishery management actions through timely, clear, and concise analysis that is useful to decision makers and more effectively involves the public.

The Act Provides New Tools To Improve The Administration's Cooperative Conservation Efforts. The President believes that to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st century we must bring together conservationists, fishermen, sportsmen, and business leaders in a spirit of cooperation, and we must continue to listen to the needs of States, communities, and local citizens. This Act promotes community-based efforts to restore local fish habitats by helping Federal agencies partner with State and local organizations.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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