Magnuson-Stevens Act

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is a comprehensive law managing America’s marine fisheries. The bill first passed in 1976 and reauthorized twice in 1996 and 2006.

Throughout the Act’s 30-plus-year history, MSA had yet to end one of recreational and commercial fisheries’ most persistent problems, overfishing. Federal fisheries limped along from one year to the next under faulty management plans that rarely recovered overfished populations.
 
As a result, MSA’s 2006 reauthorization enacted the strictest legal mandates ever seen in fisheries management in an effort to end the intractable problem of overfishing. MSA called for the cessation of all overfishing in U.S. waters by 2011 and a timetable for the rebuilding of overfished species. Ending overfishing finally had a firm deadline.  And at last, recreational anglers felt they had the recipe for proper, robust conservation of our marine resources.
 
Though the new MSA mandates may be the recipe for good conservation, the agency has utterly failed to properly manage our marine resources and is causing short-term hardship. Many outside the agency are rightfully irate at potential closures for popular species. However, they’ve misdirected their anger at the new provision of MSA, rather than the agency. The fault lies with an agency that has failed to competently discharge its duties under the law.
 
The NOAA Fisheries lack appropriate data and appropriate effort in managing recreational fisheries. This will cause a trainwreck between the NOAA Fisheries and the recreational angling community in the upcoming months unless a reasonable, workable solution is implemented to address the root problem in federal fisheries management. 
 

Articles about Magnuson-Stevens Act

Angling Community Encouraged by Magnuson Bills

Sen. Rubio continues efforts to address needs of recreational anglers in federal fisheries law
Posted on September 16, 2014

NOAA Comment Letter on Recreational Policy

Posted on September 12, 2014

Sportsmen's groups back state snapper solution

Posted on July 10, 2014

Recreational Fishing and Boating Community Underwhelmed By House Magnuson-Stevens Act Reauthorization Bill

Posted on May 29, 2014

Red Grouper: Another example of how NOT to manage a recreational fishery

Posted on May 23, 2014

Recreational Fishing and Boating Community Calls on Congress to Revamp Marine Fisheries Management

Leaders map out path for federal marine fisheries conservation
Posted on March 26, 2014

Sen. Rubio charts course for Magnuson reauthorization

Florida senator says next iteration of law cannot ignore recreational community
Posted on November 15, 2013

CCA and CSF Cohost Breakfast Briefing on Saltwater Fisheries Management

Posted on April 24, 2013

NOAA Fisheries to the Rescue?

Posted on April 09, 2012

Just when you think federal fisheries management can’t get any more confusing, NOAA Fisheries pops out a solution to a problem that is truly baffling, especially when viewed against recent decisions to dramatically limit recreational catch in other regions. Last week, NOAA announced that fishermen will be allowed to catch up to 6,700 metric tons of Gulf of Maine cod in 2012. The statement from NOAA read:

If this is success, what does failure look like?

Posted on February 03, 2012

As hard as it might be to believe, management of the Gulf red snapper fishery reached a new level of frustration this week. At its meeting in Mobile, the Gulf Council announced that the overall quota of red snapper harvest will be increased, but the 2012 season will likely be the shortest ever, perhaps no more than 40 days. Why?

The Fishery Management Illusion Continues

Posted on January 12, 2012

The illusion continues for NOAA Fisheries.

Taking Flak

Posted on December 15, 2011

It is easy to see why federal fisheries management is in the shape it is in.

Federal fisheries legislation in the spotlight

House Committee on Natural Resources holds hearing on eight fisheries bills
Posted on December 01, 2011

Robert G. Hayes, one of the most respected voices on state, federal andinternational fisheries management issues, is among those invited by U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, to appear before a hearing of his committee on Dec. 1 and offer testimony on a number of bills that stand to impact federal fisheries management. 

Chairman Hastings’ Opening Statement at Full Committee Hearing on Legislation to Amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act

Posted on December 01, 2011

In 2010, U.S. commercial fisherman landed over 8 billion pounds of fish valued at $4.5 billion. In addition, approximately 10 million recreational fisherman made more than 71 million recreational fishing trips. Clearly, the economic activity created by the Nation's fishery resources is significant, especially for coastal communities. 

Legislation to Avert Unnecessary Fishing Closures Gathers Senate Support

Nelson/Rubio Bill racing the clock to fix management problems in federal saltwater fisheries
Posted on November 29, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nov. 29, 2011– With a December 31 deadline looming, support is surging for legislation to ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service uses sound science to set catch limits for the nation’s fisheries as a Senate version of the Fishery Science Improvement Act was introduced late yesterday by Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). 

Federal laws could shut down saltwater fishing

Recreational groups hoping Congress can put off deadlines so more data can be gathered
Posted on October 28, 2011

SARASOTA — — The future of recreational saltwater fishing is murky as restrictive federal regulations are poised to possibly close vast stretches of offshore waters.

Fishers wary of 2012 time bomb as conservation law requirement kicks in

Posted on October 23, 2011

By now most of us have read stories about groups who believe Armageddon arrives in 2012. And most of us consider most of them to be operating on the fringe of reality. And we say that with all due respect.

Pew misinformation campaign reaches new low

Posted on August 11, 2011

In what has become a veritable campaign of misinformation, Pew Environment Group issued yet another statement in support of setting annual catch limits on marine fisheries species without the benefit of science-based assessments.

Scientist calls to end rule of NOAA

Posted on August 10, 2011

Influential marine scientist Brian Rothschild has charged NOAA with adopting an "unnecessarily hard-line," wrong, wasteful and job-destroying interpretation of Congress' intent for managing America's fisheries.

There you go again…

Posted on August 01, 2011

It is more of the same from the Pew Environment Group. The message below making the rounds in DC has all the hallmarks of the environmental community’s overall approach to marine resource management.

Testimony calls into question NOAA fishery science

Posted on July 28, 2011

Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Coastal Conservation, testified before Congress this week on behalf of the many marine industry groups at a hearing titled, “NOAA’s Fishery Science: Is the Lack of Basic Science Costing Jobs?”

Volusia captain tells congressional panel Fishery's snapper data flawed

Posted on July 28, 2011

Local fishing captain David Nelson and Congressman John Mica were among a series of experts who spoke at a congressional subcommittee hearing on fishing this week in Washington, D.C.

NOAA’s Fishery Science: Is the Lack of Basic Science Costing Jobs?

Posted on July 26, 2011

Terrestrial and freshwater wildlife resource management agencies would not think of operating without standardized stock surveys and assessments. Yet, for our marine resources, proponents of the status quo say that “readily available information such as biology” is adequate to replace a standardized, peer-reviewed stock assessment as the foundation of management, even when the decisions based on it will have drastic social and economic consequences. 

Improved Science Is Better Than No Science

Posted on July 21, 2011

Opponents of FSIA disapprove of the bill’s requirement that managers have a modern, recent assessment in hand in order to set an annual catch limit (ACL) for a stock of fish. Terrestrial and freshwater wildlife resource management agencies would not think of operating without standardized stock surveys and assessments. 

Legislation would help offshore anglers

Posted on July 02, 2011

In recent years, someone who fishes offshore for snapper or grouper has had very little to be excited about. In fact, grasping the volume of changes to federal fishing regulations has been no easy task. Accepting and adjusting to those changes has been an even more daunting one.

Wittman's bill aims to reel in NOAA

Ken Perrotte's outdoor column
Posted on June 30, 2011

ABRUPT CLOSURES of popular ocean fisheries in recent years by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Fisheries Service, some based on allegedly sketchy data, raised the ire of many anglers and conservation groups.

Bill Would Gut Nation's Fisheries Law

Posted on June 28, 2011

In 2006, after years of chronic overfishing (see my recent blog on the history of overfishing in the South Atlantic), Congress amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) to require fishery managers to set science-based annual catch limits by the end of 2011, with accountability measures to ensure fishermen stay within those limits. 

Fisheries Science Improvement Act: It's all about data in setting catch limits, proponents say

Posted on June 27, 2011

A bill introduced in the U.S. House this week seeks to ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Fisheries Service is required to set catch limits based on sound science, the bill's proponents say.

Groups endorse new catch-limit legislation

Posted on June 24, 2011

A bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., seeks to ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Fisheries Service is required to set catch limits based on several factors supported by a group of industry associations.

The End of Unnecessary Saltwater Fisheries Closures? The Fisheries Science Improvement Act

Posted on June 23, 2011

We've covered fish closures a lot here on GoFISHn. And, unfortunately, most of those fish closures have caused a lot of debate because of the lack of information that has lead to shutting down these fishing seasons.

Legislation Introduced to Stop Unwarranted Fisheries Closures

Anglers and industry groups unite to address catch limit problems in federal saltwater fisheries
Posted on June 23, 2011

A bill introduced by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) seeks to ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Fisheries Service is required to set catch limits based on sound science. The bi-partisan legislation, known as the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA), is endorsed by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus as well as a broad coalition of conservation, sportfishing and marine industry groups.

Wittman Casts Fishery Conservation Bill

Posted on June 23, 2011

Washington, DC – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-1), joined by 17 colleagues in the House and the Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, today announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to improve federal management of major saltwater fisheries to ensure a balanced approach in the conservation and management of saltwater fish.

Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation Briefs Congress on Fishery Science Improvement Act

Posted on June 14, 2011

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), along with Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Co-Chair Rep. Jeff Miller and CSC Member Rep. Rob Wittman, briefed members of Congress this morning on legislation that will be introduced to maintain conservation standards set forth in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Fishing interests wary of Commerce nominee

Posted on May 31, 2011

NEW BEDFORD — President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next secretary of commerce raised concerns among fishing interests today.

Officials backing fishermen; Lawmakers fighting overfishing legislation

Posted on May 17, 2011

Local and state lawmakers are trying to spur their federal counterparts to action on fishing regulation changes.

Resolutions in support of the passage of the Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act, which is in committee in the U.S. House and Senate, have made their way to local government agendas and have garnered the support of almost 20 South Carolina House members.

NH fishermen plead for changes in regulations

Posted on May 09, 2011

SEABROOK — The federal government's new "catch share" system has been literally killing off the state's 400-year-old commercial fishing industry, fishermen and state experts told a panel of federal officials yesterday.

Fed panel hears from fishery's front lines

Posted on May 03, 2011

Forged in independence, laid low by regulatory constraints, America's original fishing port told its story in many voices from many perspectives Tuesday, appealing to one arm of the U.S. Commerce Department for relief to help survive the harm done by another.

US Rep. Jon Runyan says his fishing bill would protect jobs, help protect jobs, fishermen

Posted on April 21, 2011

BARNEGAT LIGHT - U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan wants commercial and recreational fishermen to be able to catch more fish, and in the process create more jobs.

Helping the Fishermen

Posted on April 21, 2011

To the Editor:

Once vibrant North Carolina fishing communities are becoming remnants of the past because of an arcane law praised in the April 21 editorial “A Good Law That’s Working.”

Letters: How Healthy Are Our Fisheries?

Posted on April 20, 2011

In “Let Us Eat Fish” (Op-Ed, April 15), Ray Hilborn writes that studies showing a worldwide decline in fish stocks are exaggerated and that most fish stocks are stable.

A Good Law That's Working

Posted on April 20, 2011

After years of overfishing, many fish populations have begun to recover. On Monday, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that New England’s fishermen will be allowed to increase their catch of 11 commercially important fish stocks in Atlantic waters this summer.

Let Us Eat Fish

Posted on April 14, 2011

THIS Lent, many ecologically conscious Americans might feel a twinge of guilt as they dig into the fish on their Friday dinner plates. They shouldn’t.

Fisheries chief sees end to overfishing

Posted on March 22, 2011

The administrator of federal fisheries has reportedly declared restoration efforts of overfished stocks — now in their fourth decade under Magnuson-Stevens Act mandates — have succeeded in making sustainable the nation's last great wild food resource.

US Senate Expresses Concern with Federal Marine Fisheries Management

Posted on March 09, 2011

Alexandria, VA – March 8, 2010 – A dearth of marine fisheries data is on a collision course with the primary federal law that oversees federal marine fisheries management. To address this impending train wreck, today the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard held an oversight hearing regarding the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NOAA Fisheries) management of the nation’s federal marine fisheries.

CCA Testifies on Magnuson-Stevens Implementation Problems

CCA comments to Senate focus on negative impacts to recreational fisheries
Posted on March 08, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - In response to a growing chorus of frustration, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing today before the Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard Subcommittee on implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Bill Bird, a long-time volunteer leader in the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), was invited to testify on how MSA implementation is impacting recreational fisheries.

“Fishing Matters to Me” Rally Questions Govt. Regulation

Posted on February 26, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG – Fishermen/fisherwomen came from all over the eastern U.S. to protest the National Marine Fisheries Service about current fishing regulations they deem as over-regulations. 

Can Miami Boat Show stem tide of fishery closures?

Posted on February 19, 2011

MIAMI BEACH — The recreational fishing community along the nation's coastline is alarmed.

Annual Catch Limits: Unnecessary Limits and Limited Catch

Anglers frustrated with unrealistic implementation of Magnuson-Stevens Act
Posted on February 18, 2011

SILVER SPRINGS, MD – A three-day workshop on annual catch limits (ACLs) sponsored by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that concludes this week leaves very little hope that the recreational sector will find a way to mitigate the negative impacts of ACLs without a legislative fix to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the overarching federal law governing the nation’s fisheries.

Scientists to Explore ACL dilemma

CCA comments on problematic Annual Catch Limit regulations at NOAA workshop
Posted on February 14, 2011

SILVER SPRING, MD – A workshop hosted jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the regional Fishery Management Councils and nationally recognized experts this week will give the first opportunity to convey to federal managers the need to mitigate the severe negative impacts of the current annual catch limit (ACL) requirements on the recreational sector.

Fishing for Irony

Posted on February 07, 2011

They say that fishing is the world’s second oldest occupation, so it is likely there have been more ironic events in its long, storied history, but the recent letter from Massachusetts’s Governor Deval Patrick to President Obama must rank near the top of the list.

BCI's Martin Named to Center for Coastal Conservation Board of Directors

Posted on January 11, 2011

Columbia, SC - The Center for Coastal Conservation has elected Jim Martin, Director of the Berkley Conservation Institute, to its board of directors.

NOAA grants reprieve to South Atlantic anglers

New science removes threat of massive bottom closures in response to red snapper mess...for now
Posted on December 03, 2010

The rollercoaster of red snapper management in the South Atlantic took yet another turn this week when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a six-month delay in implementing large-scale closures to all bottom fishing as a management measure to recover red snapper stocks.

Legislation to Improve Federal Marine Fisheries Management System Picks Up Support in the House

Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus weighs in for a federal fisheries fix
Posted on October 02, 2010

(Oct. 01, 2010 - Washington, DC)... Support is growing for legislation to address the crisis in federal marine fisheries management as a House version of the Fishery Conservation Transition Act was introduced...

The Pending Fisheries Train Wreck

Posted on September 15, 2010

Nowhere is it more apparent that NOAA Fisheries (Formerly the National Marine Fisheries Service) will be unable to meet the requirements of the 2006 MSA reauthorization than in the table below. 

Nelson move to stall snapper rules triggers debate

Posted on July 30, 2010

With Florida fishermen facing painful restrictions on where and how to fish, new legislation by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson could be one of their last chances for a reprieve.

Nelson introduces Magnuson supplement

The Fishery Conservation Transition Act has been designed to preserve the crucial conservation standards...
Posted on July 20, 2010

The Fishery Conservation Transition Act, introduced July 15 by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) as S.3594, has been designed to preserve the crucial conservation standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) while providing federal fisheries managers some much-needed tools to address critical fisheries issues.

Legislation targets debate over red snapper ban

Posted on July 17, 2010

New legislation was introduced Thursday that is intended to affect the outcome of a two-year debate between fishermen and government fishery managers over the health of red snapper populations in the South Atlantic.

The following is Senator Bill Nelson's floor statement on the Fishery Conservation Transition Act, filed on July 15, 2010

Posted on July 15, 2010

S. 3594. A bill to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to mitigate the economic impact of the transition to sustainable fisheries on fishing communities, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Environmental group calls Sen. Bill Nelson's red snapper bill 'serious setback'

Posted on July 15, 2010

An environmental group Thursday sharply criticized legislation by Sen. Bill Nelson that would delay plans to scale back South Atlantic red snapper fishing.

Sportfishing Community Applauds Legislation to Improve Federal Marine Fisheries Management System

Legislation introduces measures to address management deficiencies and prevent precipitous, massive fisheries closures
Posted on July 15, 2010

Today, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced legislation designed to safeguard the strong conservation standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) while addressing a growing crisis within the federal marine fisheries management system.  

Anglers Cautiously Optimistic After Recreational Fishing Summit

CCA participants hope to see results after meeting with NOAA Fisheries
Posted on April 21, 2010

Outdoorsmen were out in force at the nation’s capital last week as two events in Washington DC were dedicated to how this country manages its wild and natural resources.

McCollum Letter Requesting More Money to Collect Better Data on Recreational Angling

Posted on March 10, 2010

Read full letter here

Agitated grouper anglers join chorus calling for change in federal fisheries management process

TREASURE ISLAND
Posted on February 26, 2010

Charter boat captain Sam Maisano remembers the good old days when February was the time to head offshore and catch grouper. "We have never had any problem catching big fish," said Maisano, who keeps his 32-foot, twin-engine Donzi docked behind Gators Cafe and Saloon on John's Pass. "There are grouper out there, but most folks don't want to book a trip unless they can keep something to eat." 

Pols, fishermen angle for fisheries reform

Posted on February 26, 2010

The rally on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday brought together commercial and recreational fishermen and elected officials from both sides of the aisle.

Fishermen rally against limits

Say catch rules kill jobs, hurt communities
Posted on February 25, 2010

WASHINGTON - Fishermen and charter boat captains from Massachusetts to Florida rallied outside the Capitol yesterday to demand changes to a federal fisheries law they say is killing jobs and eroding fishing communities.

TBF joins Sportfishing Industry and Partners Calling on Administration to Make Major Marine Fisheries Management Change

Immediate administrative action needed to avoid significant problems with fisheries management
Posted on February 25, 2010

The Billfish Foundation today joined a coalition of marine recreational fishing, boating, and conservation organizations and businesses to call on the Obama administration to take immediate action to deal with a crisis in federal fisheries management that has been growing for two decades because federal regulators failed to collect accurate and timely fisheries data or conduct sufficient and frequent stock assessments.

Anglers protest fishery rules

Posted on February 25, 2010

Recreational and commercial fishermen from the Florida Keys to Alaska marched on the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Wednesday to demand changes to federal fishery laws.

Statement by Eric Schwaab, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, on Today’s “United We Fish” Rally at Capitol Hill

Posted on February 24, 2010

I am here today to listen to those who have come to rally Congress. I know the key to any successful fishery management program is active involvement by commercial and recreational fishermen as well as other interested stakeholders.

Coalition seeks to avoid fisheries management “train wreck”

Overwhelmed agency incapable of properly implementing law
Posted on February 24, 2010

Passage of the 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Act, the overarching law that manages America’s marine fisheries, revealed crippling deficiencies within the agency charged with implementing the law. Recently, a coalition of marine angling and industry groups launched an effort to improve the National Marine Fisheries Service’s efforts to manage the nation’s marine resources and the 13 million saltwater anglers who depend on healthy fisheries.

Change fishery rules, spare fishing jobs, chorus says

Posted on February 24, 2010

From the chairman of a federal fisheries panel to a Florida senator and fishermen massed for protests in Washington, there were calls Wednesday to rethink a law driving new red snapper regulations expected to hammer Northeast Florida fishermen.

Sportfishing Industry and Partners Call on Administration to Make Major Marine Fisheries Management Changes

Immediate administrative action needed to avoid significant problems with fisheries management
Posted on February 23, 2010

Today, a coalition of marine recreational fishing, boating, and conservation organizations and businesses called on the Obama administration to take immediate action to address a crisis within the federal fisheries management system. 

Questions and Answers about The Flexibility in Rebuilding America’s Fisheries Act

Posted on February 23, 2010

CCA is opposed to current legislation sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone and Sen. Charles Schumer, also known as the Flexibility Act, which would weaken the conservation provisions of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. CCA does not believe that H.R.1584 and S.1255 would benefit anglers, as it does not address many of the core problems plaguing recreational fisheries.

A good law in search of a good agency

Posted on January 01, 2010

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is the overarching law that manages America’s marine fisheries. It was first passed in 1976 and was reauthorized in 1996 and again in 2006. 

Collaborative letter points out deficits in data collection

Posted on October 29, 2009

An impressive array of the major marine industry, recreational angling and environmental groups co-signed an October 22 letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Atmospheric and Ocean Administration (NOAA), calling for reform of recreational angling data collection by the federal government.

Federal Judge: Fisheries Service has failed red snapper

Posted on March 13, 2007

HOUSTON, TX – In a stunning repudiation of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s rebuilding plan for red snapper, a federal judge ruled yesterday that NMFS violated the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act by its continuing failure to take timely and appropriate steps to rebuild red snapper stocks in the Gulf of Mexico or to regulate the harm to red snapper caused by shrimp fishing.

Magnuson-Stevens Act Testimony 05.02.02

Posted on May 02, 2002

Good Afternoon, my name is Bob Hayes and I am the General Counsel for the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA). I would like to thank the Chairman for this opportunity to address the Committee on the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. 

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